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BX 9478 .A4 1841 
Synod of Dort (1618-1619) 
The articles of the Synod of 



.RTICLES / . « 









Professor in the Theological Seminary, Princeton, N. J. 





Printed by 






which the rise and progress of tliose conlroversies in 
Belgium, for the removal of which this Synod was es- 
pecially held, are briefly and faithfully related - 83 

Introduction to this Preface and the History contained 
in it, by the Author 83 

The History (a translation with notes) ... 94 

II. THE JUDGMENT of the National Synod of the re- 

formed Belgic churches held at Dort, A. D. 1618, 1619; 
at which very many Theologians of the reformed 
churches of Great Britain, Germany, and France were 
present; concerning the five heads of doctrine, contro- 
verted in the Belgic churches. (Published May 5,1619.) 241 
Remarks on this judgment 247 

Introductory Remarks 257 

Chapter I. On the doctrine of divine Predestination, in 

eighteen articles, (with Notes and References) - 260 

These eighteen articles, as abbreviated by Tilenus, and 
reported by Heylin, in one article, (with a remark) 271 

Rejection of Errors, by which the Belgic churches have 
for some time been disturbed, (with Notes and Refer- 
ences) - 273 

Chapter II. On the doctrine of the Death of Christ, and 
through it of the Redemption of Man, in nine articles, 
(with Notes, &c.) 282 

Abbreviation (in one article) by Tilenus and Heylin - 286 


Rejection of Errors on the Second Chapter, in seven arti- 
cles (with Notes, &c.) 286 

Chapters III and IV. On the doctrine of Man's corruption, 
and on the method of his conversion to God ; in seven- 
teen articles, (with Notes, &c.) .... 292 
Abbreviation by Tilenus and Heylin, in two articles 304 
Rejection of Errors on the third and fourth chapters, in 
nine articles (with Notes, &c.) .... 305 
Chapter V. Of Doctrine. — Concerning the Perseverance of 
the saints, in fifteen articles, (with Notes, <S.'C.) - 314 
Abbreviation by Tilenus and Heylin in one article, with 

their conclusion, and a remark upon it - - - 322 
Rejection of Errors on the fifth chapter, concerning the 
doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, in nine arti- 
cles, (with Notes, &c.) 323 

Conclusion, (with Notes, &c.) .... 330 
The decision of the Synod, concerning the Remon- 
strants 335 

Remarks on this decision 342 

IV. THE APPROBATION of the most illustrious and 
very powerful lords the states-general - 358 

Concluding remarks on this approbation - - 362 


The convocation and proceedings of the 
Synod of Dort, may be considered as among 
the most interesting events of the seven- 
teenth century. The Westminster Assem- 
bly of Divines was, indeed, more immedi- 
ately interesting to British and American 
Presbyterians; and the works of that cele- 
brated Assembly, as monuments of judg- 
ment, taste, and sound theology, have cer- 
tainly never been equalled by those of any 
other uninspired ecclesiastical body that ever 
convened. Yet the Synod of Dort had, un- 
doubtedly, a species of importance peculiar 
to itself, and altogether pre-eminent. It was 
not merely a meeting of the select divines of 
a single nation, but a convention of the Cal- 
vinistic world, to bear testimony against a 
rising and obtrusive error; to settle a ques- 
tion in which all the Reformed Churches of 
Europe had an immediate and deep interest. 
The question was, whether the opinions of 
Arminius, which were then agitating so 


many minds, could be reconciled with the 
Confession of the Belgic Churches? 

The opinions denominated Arminian had 
been substantially taught long before Armi- 
nius appeared. The doctrine of Cassian, of 
Marseilles, in the fifth century, commonly 
styled Semi Pelagianism, was almost ex- 
actly the same system. Bolsec, too, in Ge- 
neva, about the year 1552, according to 
some, had also taught very much the same 
doctrine, though justly regarded as infamous 
on account of his shameful moral delinquen- 
cies. And about fifteen or twenty years be- 
fore Arminius arose, Corvinus, in Holland, 
had appeared as the advocate of opinions of 
similar import. But having less talent than 
Arminius, and being less countenanced by 
eminent men, his error made little noise, and 
was suffered quietly to sink into insignifi- 
cance, until a stronger and more popular 
man arose to give it new consequence, and 
a new impulse. 

James xVrminius, or Harmensen, was born 
at Oud water, in south Holland, in the year 
1560. His father died when he was an 
infant; and he was indebted to the cha- 
rity of several benevolent individuals for the 
whole of his education. At one time he was 


employed as a servant at a public inn,* and 
in this situation was so much noticed for his 
activity, intelligence, wit and obliging de- 
portment, that numbers became interested in 
his being enabled to pursue the cultivation 
of his mind. Accordingly, by one of his pa- 
trons, he was placed, for a time, in the Uni- 
versity of Utrecht; on his decease, by an- 
other, in the University of Marpurg, in 
Hesse; and finally, by a third, in that of 
Leyden. In 1582, in the twenty-second year 
of his age, the magistrates of Amsterdam 
had received such impressions of his promis- 
ing talents, and of his diligent application to 
study, that they sent him, at the public ex- 
pense, to Geneva, which was then consider- 
ed as the great centre of theological instruc- 
tion for the Reformed Churches. In that 
far-famed institution Theodore Beza then 
presided, with equal honour to himself, and 
acceptance to the students. Here Armi- 
nius, as b efore, manifested jnjucli intellecjjjal 
activity and ardour of inquiry ; but indulging 
a spiriTorself-sufficiency and insubordination, 
in opposing some of the philosophical opi- 
nions held and taught by the leading pro- 

* Life of Wallaeus, one of the members of the Synod of 


fessors at Geneva, and delivering private 
lectures to turn away the minds of the stu- 
dents from the instructions of their teachers, 
he became a kind of malcontent, and was 
constrained to withdraw from that Institu- 
tion. This circumstance somewhat impair- 
ed that confidence in his prudence which his 
patrons had before reposed. Still they were 
wiUing to overlook it. After travelling eight 
or ten months in Italy, he returned for a 
short time to Geneva, and soon afterwards 
to Holland, where he met with no small ac- 
ceptance in his profession. Such was his 
popularity, that, in 15SS, he was elected one 
of the ministers of Amsterdam, and entered 
on a pastoral charge in that city, with every 
prospect of honour, comfort, and usefulness. 
But his restless, innovating spirit soon began, 
in his new situation, again to disclose itself. 
'Not long after his settlement, the doctrine of 
Beza concerning Predestination was pub- 
Ucly opposed by some ministers of Delft, in 
a tract which they printed on this subject. 
When this publication appeared, Martin 
Lydius, professor of Divinity at Franequar, 
having a high opinion of the learning and 
talents of Arminius, judged him to be the 
most proper person he was acquainted with 


to answer it; and, accordingly, urged him to 
undertake the task. Arminius, in compliance 
with this request from his venerable friend, 
undertook to refute the heretical work; but 
during the examination of it, and while bal- 
ancing the reasoning on both sides, he went 
over to the opinion which he had been era- 
ployed to refute; and even carried it further 
than the ministers of Delft had done. This 
change of opinion, which took place about 
the year 1591, and which he was not long 
in causing to be understood, soon excited 
public attention. About the same time, in a 
course of public lectures, delivered in his 
own pulpit, on the Epistle to the Romans, 
he still farther disclosed his erroneous views. 
He was soon accused of departing from the 
Belgic Confession, and many of his brethren 
began to look upon him and his opinions with 
deep apprehension. Such, however, were 
the vigilance and firmness manifested by the 
other members of his CUissis, that they so 
far curbed and counteracted him as to pre- 
vent the agitation of the controversy, which 
it seems to have been his intention to excite. 
Arminius, however, though deterred, at 
that early period, from public and open con- 
troversy, exerted himself in a more private 



way, with considerable effect. With some 
divines, whose friendship he had before con- 
cihated, his talents, his learning, his smooth 
address, and his insinuating eloquence were 
successful in winning them to his opinions. 
The celebrated Uytenbogart and Borrius 
were among the number of his early con- 
verts and followers. He also took unwearied 
pains to gain over to his cause some of the 
leading laymen of the country, and soon en- 
listed several of them in his cause. 

In the year 1602, when the illustrious 
Francis Junius, an eminent Reformer, and 
no less eminent as a Professor of Divinity in 
the University of Leyden, was removed by 
death, to the great grief of the Belgic 
churches, Uytenbogart, who was just men- 
tioned as a particular friend and partizan of 
Arminius, proposed, and, with great zeal, 
recommended him to the Curators of the 
University, as a candidate for the vacant 
Professorship. The leading Belgic minis- 
ters, hearing of this recommendation, and 
deeply apprehensive of the consequences of 
electing such a man to so important a sta- 
tion, besought both Uytenbogart and the 
Curators of the University to desist from all 
attempts to place in such an office one who 


was the object of so much suspicion. But 
these entreaties were disregarded. The re- 
commendation of him was prosecuted witK' 
undiminished zeal, and the Curators at length 
elected and formally called him to the vacant 

The call being laid, as usual, before the 
Classis of Amsterdam, that body declined to 
put it into his hands. They supposed that 
he was more likely to prove mischievous in 
the office to which he was called than in his 
pastoral charge, where he was more immedi- 
ately under the supervision and restraint of 
his brethren in the ministry. But, at length, 
at the repeated and earnest entreaties of Uy- 
tenbogart, of the Curators, and of Arminius 
himself, he was permitted to accept the call, 
and was regularly dismissed from the Classis 
to enter on his new office. This dismission, 
however, was granted upon the express con- 
dition, that he should hold a conference with 
Gomarus, one of the theological Professors 
in the same University with that to which 
he was called; and should remove from him- 
self all suspicion of heterodoxy by a full and 
candid declaration of his opinions in regard 
to the leading doctrines of the Gospel; and, 
moreover, the Classis exacted from him a 


solemn promise, that, if it should be found 
that he held any opinions different from the 
Belgic Confession, he would refrain from 
disseminating them. This conference was 
held in the presence of the Curators of the 
University, and the Deputies of the Synod, 
in the course of which Arminius solemnly 
disavowed Pelagian opinions; declared his 
full belief in all that Augustine had written 
against those opinions; and promised in the 
most explicit manner that he would teach 
nothing contrary to the received doctrines of 
the Church. Upon these declarations and 
promises he was placed in the Professorship. 
On first entering upon his Professorship 
he seemed to take much pains to remove 
from himself all suspicion of heterodoxy, by 
publicly maintaining theses in favour of the 
received doctrines; — doctrines which he af- 
terwards zealously contradicted. And that 
he did this contrary to his own conviction at 
the time, was made abundantly evident after- 
wards by some of his own zealous friends. 
But after he had been in his new office a year 
or two, it was discovered that it was his con- 
stant practice to deliver one set of opinions 
in his professorial chair, and a very different' 
set by means of private confidential manu- 


scripts circulated among his pupils.* He 
was also accustomed, while he publicly re- 
commended the characters and opinions dT 
the most illustrious Reformed divines, artful- 
ly to insinuate such things as were adapted, 
indirectly, to bring them into, discredit, and 
to weaken the arguments usually brought for 
their support. He also frequently intimated 
to his pupils, that he had many objections 
to the doctrines usually deemed orthodox, 
which he intended to make known at a suit- 
able time. It was observed, too, that some 
pastors who were known to be on terms of 
great intimacy with him, were often giving 
intimations in private that they had adopted 
the new opinions, and not a few of his pupils 
began to manifest symptoms of being infect- 
ed with the same errors. 

The churches of Holland observing these 
and other things of a similar kind, became 
deeply apprehensive of the consequences; 
they, therefore, enjoined upon the Deputies, 
to whom the supervision of the church was 
more especially commited, to inquire into 
the matter, and to take the earliest and most 

* This fact, so dishonourable to the integrity of Armi- 
nius, is so well attested by various Dutch writers of un- 
doubted credit, that it cannot be reasonably called in 



decisive measures to prevent the apprehend- 
ed evil from taking deeper root. In conse- 
quence of this injunction, the Deputies of the 
churches of North and South Holland waited 
on Arminius, informed him of what they 
had heard, and urged him, in a friendly 
manner, if he had doubts or difficulties re- 
specting any of the received doctrines of the 
Belgic churches, either to make known his 
mind in a frank and candid manner to his 
brethren in private; or to refer the whole 
affair, officially, to the consideration and de- 
cision of a Synod. 

To this address of the Deputies Arminius 
replied, that he had never given any just 
cause for the reports of which they had 
heard; but that he did not think proper to 
enter into any conference with them, as the 
Deputies of the churches; that if, however, 
they chose, as private ministers, to enter into 
a conversation with him on the points in 
question, he was ready to comply with their 
wishes-, provided they would engage, on their 
part, that, if they found any thing erroneous 
in his opinions, they would not divulge it to 
the Synod which they represented! Tlie 
Deputies, considering this proposal as un- 
fair, as unworthy of a man of integrity, and 

I N T R O D if C TORY ESSAY. 15 

as likely to lead to no useful result, very 
properly declined accepting it, and retired 
without doing any thing further. 

In this posture of affairs, several of the 
magistrates of Leyden urged Arminius to 
hold a conference with his colleagues in 
the University, before the Classis, respecting 
those doctrines to which he had objections, 
that the extent of his objections might be 
known. But this he declined. In the same 
manner he treated one proposal after an- 
other, for private explanation; for calling a 
national Synod to consider the matter; or 
for any method whatever of bringing the 
affair to a regular ecclesiastical decision. 
Now a Classis, then a Synod, and at other 
times secular men attempted to move in the 
case; but Arminius was never ready, and 
always had insurmountable objections to 
every method proposed for explanation or 
adjustment. It was evident that he wished 
to gain time; to put off any decisive action 
in the case, until he should have such an 
opportunity of influencing the minds of the 
leading secular men of the country as even- 
tually to prepare them to take side with 
himself Thus he went on evading, post- 
poning, concealing, shrinking from every in- 


quiry, and endeavouring secretly to throw 
every possible degree of odium on the ortho- 
dox doctrines, hoping that, by suitable man- 
agement, their advocates both in the church 
and among the civil rulers might be gradu- 
ally diminished, so as to give him a good 
chance of a majority in any Synod which 
might be eventually called. 

This is a painful narrative. It betrays a 
want of candour and integrity on the part of a 
man otherwise respectable, which it affords no 
gratification even to an adversary to record. 
It may be truly said, however, to be the stere- 
otyped history of the commencement of eve- 
ry heresy which has arisen in the Christian 
church. When heresy rises in an evangelical 
body, it is never frank and open. It always 
begins by skulking, and assuming a disguise. 
Its advocates, when together, boast of great 
improvements, and congratulate one another 
on having gone greatly beyond the " old dead 
orthodoxy," and on having left behind many 
of its antiquated errors: but when taxed with 
deviations from the received iaith, they com- 
plain of the unreasonableness of their ac- 
cusers, as they " differ from it only in woi'ds." 
This has been the standing course of errorists 
ever since the apostolic age. They are al- 


most never honest and candid as a party, 
until they gain strength enough to be sure of 
some degree of popularity. Thus it was witlf' 
Arius in the fourth century, with Pelagius 
in the fifth, with Arminius and his compan- 
ions in the seventeenth, with Amyraut and 
his associates in France soon afterwards, and 
whh the Unitarians in Massachusetts, to- 
ward the close of the eighteenth and the be- 
ginning of the nineteenth centuries. They 
denied their real tenets, evaded examination 
or inquiry, declaimed against their accusers 
as merciless bigots and heresy-hunters, and 
strove as long as they could to appear to 
agree with the most orthodox of their neigh- 
bours; until the time came when, partly 
from inability any longer to cover up their 
sentiments, and partly because they felt 
strong enough to come out, they at length 
avowed their real opinions. Arminius, in 
regard to talents, to learning, to eloquence, 
and to general exemplariness of moral de- 
portment, is undoubtedly worthy of high 
praise: but if there be truth in history, his 
character as to integrity, candour, and fidelity 
to his official pledges and professions, is cov- 
ered with stains which can never by any in- 
genuity be etFaced. 


At length, after various attempts to bring 
Arminius to an avowal of his real opinions 
had failed, he was summoned by the States 
General, in 1609, to a conference at the 
Hague. He went, attended by several of 
his friends, and met Gomarus, accompanied 
with a corresponding number of orthodox 
divines. Here again the sinister designs and 
artful management of Arminius and his com- 
panions were manifested, but overruled ; 
and he was constrained, to a considerable 
extent, to explain and defend himself But 
before this conference was terminated, the 
agitation of his mind seems to have preyed 
upon his bodily health. He was first taken 
apparently in a small degree unwell, and 
excused himself for a few days, to the States 
General; but at length grew worse; was 
greatly agitated in mind; and expired on the 
19th day of October, 1609, in the forty-ninth 
year of his age. His mind, in his last illness, 
seems to have been by no means composed. 
" He was sometimes heard," says Bertius, 
his warm friend and panegyrist — " He was 
sometimes heard, in the course of his last 
illness, to groan and sigh, and to cry out, 
^ Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast 
borne me a man of strife, and a man of con- 


tention to the whole earth. I have lent 
to no man on usury, nor have men lent to 
me on usury; yetevery one doth curse me!'"' 

Attempts have been made to show that 
Arminius did, in fact, differ very little from 
the received doctrines of the Belgic church- 
es; nay, that he, on the whole, coincided 
with sublapsarian Calvinists; and of course, 
was most unjustly accused of embracing the 
heresy since called by his name. It is evident 
that Dr. Mosheim, himself an Arminian, was 
not of this opinion. He plainly thought, that 
the friends of the Belgic Confession had 
much more reason to apprehend hostility on 
the part of Arminius and his followers, to 
the essential principles of their creed, than 
their published language would seem to in- 
timate. And the Rev. Dr. Murdock, the 
latest and best translator of Mosheim has 
delivered the following opinion, which will 
probably commend itself to the judgment of 
air well-informed and impartial readers. 

"It is a common opinion that the early 
Arminians, who flourished before the Synod 
of Dort, were much purer and more sound 
than the later ones, who lived and taught 
after that council; and that Arminius him- 
self only rejected Calvin's doctrine of abso- 


lute decrees, and its necessary consequences, 
while, in every thing else, he agreed with the 
Reformer; but that his disciples, and espe- 
cially Episcopius, boldly passed the limits 
which their master had wisely established, 
and went over to the camp of the Pelagians 
and Socinians. But it appears to me very 
clear, that Arminius himself revolved in his 
own mind, and taught to his disciples, that 
form of religion which his followers after- 
wards professed; and that the latter, espe- 
cially Episcopius, only perfected what their 
master taught them, and casting off fear, ex- 
plained it more clearly. I have as a witness, 
besides others of less authority, Arminius 
himself, who, in his will, drawn up a little 
before his death, explicitly declares that his 
aim was to bring all sects of Christians, with 
the exception of the Papists, into one com- 
munity and brotherhood. The opinion that 
Arminius himself was very nearly orthodox, 
and not an Arminian, in the common ac- 
ceptation of the term, has been recently ad- 
vocated by Professor Stuart, of Andover, in 
an article expressly on the Creed of Armini- 
us, in the Biblical Repository, No. IL, An- 
dover, 1831, see pp. 293 and 301. To such 
a conclusion the learned Professor is led. 

inteodIjctory essay. 21 

principally, by an artful and imposing state- 
ment made by Arminius to the magistrates., 
of Holland, in the year 1608, one year before 
his death, on which Mr. Stuart puts the 
most favourable construction the words will 
bear. But from a careful comparison of this 
declaration of Arminius, with the original 
five articles of the Arminian creed, (which 
were drawn up almost in the very words of 
Arminius, so early as the year 1610, and ex- 
hibited by the Remonstrants in the confer- 
ence at the Hague, in 1611; and were after- 
wards, together with a full explanation and 
vindication of each article, laid before the 
Synod of Dort, in 1617, changing, however, 
the dubitation of the fifth article into a posi- 
tive denial of the saints perseverance,) it 
will, I think, appear manifest, that Arminius 
himself actually differed from the orthodox 
of that day, on all the five i)oints; and that 
he agreed substantially with the Remon- 
strants on all those doctrines for which they 
were condemned in the Synod of Dort. And 
that such was the fact, appears to have been 
assumed without hesitation by the principal 
writers of that and the following age, both 
Remonstrants and Contra-remonstrants."* 

» Murdock's Moshcim III., 508, 509. 


It was fondly hoped by many that when 
Arminius died, the controversy to which his 
speculations had given rise, would have died 
and been buried with him. But this, unhap- 
pily, by no means, proved to be the case. It 
soon appeared that a number of Belgic di- 
vines of no small name had embraced his 
sentiments, and could by no means be per- 
suaded to desist from propagating them ; and 
in 1610 they were organized into a body, or 
formal confederacy; and in this capacity pre- 
sented to the States General an address 
which they styled a Remonstrance, from 
which the whole party afterwards obtained 
the name of Remonstrants. The particular 
object of this paper v/as to solicit the favour 
of the government, and to secure protection 
against the ecclesiastical censures to which 
they felt themselves exposed. This step 
amounted to a kind of schism, and greatly 
distressed the Belgic churches. Another 
event soon occurred which excited deeper 
and still more painful apprehension among 
the friends of orthodoxy. When the Cura- 
tors of the University came to fill the profes- 
sorial chair which had been rendered vacant 
by the death of Arminius, the Deputies of 
the Churches earnestly besought them to 


select a man free from all suspicion of heter- 
odoxy, as one of the best means of restoring 
peace to the University and the Church. But 
to no purpose. The Remonstrants had, by 
some means, so prepossessed the minds of 
the Curators, that Conrad Vorstius, a min- 
ister and professor at Steinfurt, in Germany, 
a man suspected of something much worse 
than even Arminianism, was selected to fill 
the office, and Uytenbogart, one of the most 
able and zealous of the Arminian party, was 
appointed to go to Steinfurt, to solicit his 
dismission and removal to Leyden. The 
orthodox ministers and churches protested 
against this choice. They compared it to 
" driving a nail into an inflamed and painful 
ulcer;" and earnestly besought the States 
General )iot to permit a step so directly cal- 
culated still further to disturb and corrupt the 
churches. Vorstius had, a short time be- 
fore, published a book " De Natura et Jit- 
tributis Dei,''^ and had also edited, with 
some alterations, a book published by So- 
cinus the younger, on the Scriptures, from 
both which it appeared that he leaned to So- 
cinian opinions. Notwithstanding this, how- 
ever, the Remonstrants were bent on his elec- 
tion, and it was with the utmost difficulty 


that their plan for placing him in the vacant 
chair was defeated. In short, their conduct 
in the case of Vorstius alone was quite suffi- 
cient to show, that the apprehensions of the 
orthodox concerning the corrupt character 
of their opinions, were by no means exces- 
sive or unjust. James I. king of England, 
having read the book of Vorstius, a book 
concerning the nature and attributes of God, 
and conceiving it to be replete with radical 
error, addressed a letter to the States Gene- 
ral, exhorting them "not to admit such a 
man into the important office of teacher of 
theology; and, further, connnanded his am- 
bassador at the Hague to use his utmost influ- 
ence to prevent the introduction into such a 
Professorship, of a man, as he expressed it — 
rendered infamous by so many and great er- 
rors, and who ought to be banished from their 
territories, rather than loaded with public 
honours." " In short," said the king, " since 
God has been pleased to dignify me with 
the title of 'Defender of the Faith/ if Vor- 
stius is kept any longer, we shall be obliged 
not only to separate from those heretical 
churches, but also to consult all the other 
Reformed churches, in order to know which 
is the best way of extirpating and sending 

INTRO d'VCTORY essay. 25 

back to hell those cursed heresies which 
have recently sprung up; we shall be forced 
to forbid the young people of our kingdom 
to frequent such an infected University as 
that of Leyden." By these and various 
other sources of influence, the Remonstrants 
were scarcely prevented from putting Vor- 
stius into the vacant Professorship. Still, 
though disappointed, they were not dis- 
heartened, or diminished in number. On 
the contrary, the election, soon afterwards, 
of Episcopius, a leading man of their party, 
to a Professorship in the University of Ley- 
den, seemed to give them new strength and 
new hopes. It became also more and more 
evident that some men of no small influence 
in the civil government of the country, had 
become friendly to the Remonstrants, and 
strongly disposed to pursue a course which 
should secure at least impunity to them as a 
party. Hence the repeated manifestation of 
unwillingness on the part of the States Gene- 
ral to promote the convening of a National 
Synod, or the adoption of any other plan for 
bringing the Remonstrants to discipline. It 
was evidently the favourable object of the Re- 
monstrants and their friends, both in church 
and state, to do nothing; to secure the tolera- 


tion of the growing errors; and to allow the 
Renmonstrants as good a standing as the or- 
thodox in the national chnrch. Accordingly, 
when anxious efforts were made, in 1611, 
and again in 1613, to bring the affairs of the 
Church to an adjustment and pacification, 
the friends of truth were baffled and disap- 
pointed. Every effort to bring on a crisis, 
or, in any form, to call the Remonstrants to 
an account, was resisted and evaded; and 
the state of things was, every day, becom- 
ing more distressing and alarming. Confu- 
sion, and even persecution ensued. Some of 
the orthodox pastors were suspended, and 
others driven from their charges, because 
they could not conscientiously receive those 
who avowed Arminian opinions into the 
communion of the Church. 

In this situation of things, when the very 
pillars of society seemed to be shaken; when 
the ruling powers of the State were seen to 
be more and more favourable to the erro- 
neous party; and when every thing portend- 
ed the approach of a tremendous crisis — it 
pleased God to employ an instrument for 
promoting the advancement of his cause who 
by no means loved that cause, and who yet 
was placed in circumstances which at once 


prompted and enabled him to favour it. 
James I., king of England, a man of very 
small mind, and of still less moral or religious 
principle, having been born and bred in a 
Calvinistic community, and coming to the 
throne of England when the leading clergy of 
that part of his dominions, as well as of the 
North, were almost unanimously Calvinistic, 
he fell in with the fashionable creed, and was 
disposed, as his manner was, in every thing, 
officiously to exert his royal power in its 
favour. He, therefore, in the year 1617, 
addressed a friendly, but admonitory letter 
to the States General, in which he earnestly 
recommended the calling a national synod, 
to vindicate the genuine doctrines of the Re- 
formation, and to restore tranquillity to the 
agitated Belgic churches. About the same 
time, Maurice, the prince of Orange, and the 
Head of the United Provinces, took the same 
ground, and urged the same thing. When 
the Arminian party perceived that the popu- 
lar current was beginning to run in this direc- 
tion, and that there was some prospect of a 
national synod being called, they were filled 
with uneasiness, and strove by all the means 
in their power to prevent it. But their eva- 
sive and intriguing arts were now in vain: 


and although they began to manifest a spirit 
more Uke revolt and sedition than before, yet 
now the state of the public mind was such, 
that their violence only served to show the 
greater necessity of some efficient measure 
for meeting and subduing their turbulence. 

At length a decree was issued by the 
States General in 1618, ordering that a Na- 
tional Synod should convene in the following 
November, at Dort, a considerable city of 
South Holland. The method prescribed for 
the convocation of this synod, was, that a 
provincial synod should meet in each of the 
provinces, from which six persons should be 
delegated to attend the General Synod. And, 
in most cases, the plan adopted was to ap- 
point four ministers, and two ruling elders 
from each of the provincial synods, together 
with at least one Professor from each of the 

It had been originally intended that this 
Synod sholild be formed of delegates from 
the Belgic churches only; but at the pointed 
request of James I., king of England, second- 
ed, at his suggestion, by Maurice, prince of 
Orange, it was determined to invite eminent 
divines from foreign churches to sit and vote 
in the Synod. Accordingly letters were ad- 


dressed to the king of Great Britain; to the 
deputies of the Reformed Churches of France; 
to the Electors of the Palatinate and Bran-' 
denburgh; to the Landgrave of Hesse; "to 
the four Protestant Cantons of Switzerland, 
viz. Zurich, Berne, Basle, and Schaft'hausen; 
and to the Republics of Geneva, Bremen, 
and Enibden, whom they entreated to dele- 
gate some of their most pious, learned, and 
prudent theologians, who, in conjunction 
with the deputies of the Belgic churches, 
should labour to compose the ditferences, and 
decide the controversies which had arisen in 
those churches. 

The Reformed churches of France, in com- 
pliance with the request made to them, ap- 
pointed Andrew Rivet and Peter du JNIou- 
lin, as their delegates to attend this Synod; 
but just as they were about to set out for 
Dort, in pursuance of their appointment, the 
king of France issued an edict, forbidding 
their attendance. In consequence of this 
interdict, the churches of France were not 
represented in the Synod. 

It would be wrong to omit stating, that, 

before the Synod came together, a day of 

solemn prayer and fasting was appointed, to 

deprecate the wraih of God, and to implore 



his gracious presence and blessing on the 
approaching Assembly. This day was ap- 
pointed by the States General, and observed 
with great solemnity. 

The Synod convened, agreeably to the 
call of the States General, in the city of 
Dort, on the 1 3th day of November, A. D. 
1618. It consisted of thirty-nine Pastors 
and eighteen Ruling Elders delegated from 
the Belgic churches, together with five Pro- 
fessors from the Universities of Holland; 
and also of Delegates from all the foreign 
Reformed churches which had been invited 
to send them, excepting those of France, be- 
fore spoken of. The delegates from the 
foreign Reformed churches on the Continent, 
all of whom were Presbyterian, were nine- 
teen. The delegates from Great Britain were 
five, viz: George Carleton, bishop of Llan- 
dafF; Joseph Hall, Dean of Worcester, and 
afterwards Bishop, successively, of Exeter 
and Norwich; John Davenant, Professor of 
Divinity in the University of Cambridge, and 
afterwards Bishop of Salisbury; Samuel 
Ward, Archdeacon of Taunton, and Theo- 
logical Professor in the University of Cam- 
bridge; and Walter Balcanequal, of Scot- 
land, representing the Established Church of 


North Britain. The Synod thus constituted, 
consisted, in all, of eighty-six members. No 
Arminians, it would appear, were elected" 
members of the Synod, excepting three from 
the Province of Utrecht; and of these only 
one was admitted to a seat. 

It is perfectly evident from the foregoing 
statement, that the leading divines, and the 
governing policy of the Church of England, 
at the date of this Synod, were very far from 
sanctioning the spirit which has since risen 
in that establishment, and which has mani- 
fested itself, for a number of years past, 
among many of that denomination of Chris- 
tians in the United States. Here we see a 
prelatical bishop and three other dignitaries 
of the Church of England, two of whom 
were afterwards bishops, sitting in a solemn 
ecclesiastical body, and, for months together, 
deliberating, praying, and preaching with an 
assembly, all of whom but themselves, were 
Presbyterians. This was a practical recog- 
nition, of the strongest kind, of the Presby- 
terian Church, as a true Church of Christ; 
and demonstrated that the great and learned 
and good men who directed the counsels of 
the Church of England at that time, never 
thought of denying, either in word or act. 


her just claim to this character. Some high- 
chiirch-men, indeed, of modern times, either 
ignorant of facts, or so prejudiced as to be 
totally blind to the lights of history, have 
alleged that the States General pointedly re- 
quested the king of England to send dele- 
gates to this Synod; and that he, unwilling 
to reject their solicitation, was over persuad- 
ed to depart, on one occasion, from the prin- 
ciples which ordinarily governed him and 
his Church. This statement is altogether 
incorrect. The solicitation was all the other 
way. The king of England, though he had 
nothing, strictly speaking, to do with the 
business, seemed fond of meddling with it; 
interposed from time to time in a way in 
which no other than a weak, officious, pe- 
dantic, and arrogant man would have thought 
of doing; and pressed the States General to 
adopt a plan which would open the way for 
the admission of delegates from his Church 
to the Synod. 

And to his wishes and policy in this mat- 
ter his leading divines acceded. It would 
have been difficult to select men of more 
respectable character for talents, learning, 
piety, and ecclesiastical influence than those 
who were nominated and commissioned to 


take their seats in that Synod. They delibe- 
rated for months with Presbyterians; preach-^ 
ed in Presbyterian pulpits; united in Presby- 
terian devotions; recognised Presbyterian 
churches as sister churches, and their minis- 
ters as brethren in oflice and in hope. 
how different the language of many prela- 
tists of later times — many of them, it must be 
confessed, indeed, pigmies in talents, learn- 
ing, and piety, when compared with the 
giants who acted their parts on the occasion 
of which we speak ! 

When Bishop Hall took leave of the Sy- 
nod, from which he was obliged to retire on 
account of ill health, he declared, "There 
was no place upon earth so like heaven as 
the Synod of Dort, and where he should be 
more willing to dwell;" (Brandt's History, 
Session 62,) and the following extract from a 
Sermon which he delivered in Latin, before 
that venerable Synod, contains a direct and 
unequivocal acknowledgment of the Church 
of Holland as a true Church of Christ. It 
was delivered November 29, 1618, and 
fo.unded on Eccles. vii. 16. "His serene 
majesty, our King James, in his excellent 
letter, admonishes the States General, and 
in his instructions to us hath expressly com- 


manded us to urge this with our whole 
might, to inculcate this one thing, that you 
all continue to adhere to the common faith, 
and the Confession of your own and the 
other churches; which if you do, happy 
Holland! chaste Spouse of Christ! pros- 
perous republic ! This, your afflicted Church, 
tossed with the billows of differing opinions, 
will yet reach the harbour, and safely smile 
at all the storms excited by her cruel adver- 
saries. That this may at length be obtained, 
let us seek for the things which make for 
peace. We are brethren; let us also be col- 
leagues! What have we to do with the in- 
famous titles of party names ? We are Chris- 
tians; let us also be of the same mind. We 
are one body; let us also be unanimous. By 
the tremendous name of the Omnipotent 
God; by the pious and loving bosom of our 
common mother; by our own souls; by the 
holy bowels of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, 
my brethren, seek peace, pursue peace." 
(See the whole in the Acta Synodi Nat. 
Dord, 38.) 

But this excellent prelate went further. 
A little more than twenty years after his 
mission to Holland, and when he had been 
made Bishop of Exeter, and advanced to the 



diocese of Norwich, he pubUshed his Ireni- 
cum, (or Peacemaker,) in which we find the 
following passage: ''Blessed be God, there 
is no difference, in any essential point, be- 
tween the Church of England and her sister 
Reformed Churches, We unite in every ar- 
ticle of Christian doctrine, without the least 
variation, as the full and absolute agreement 
between their public Confessions and ours 
testifies. The only difference between us 
consists in our mode of constituting the ex- 
ternal ministry; and even with respect to 
this point we are of one mind, because we 
all profess to believe that it is not an essen- 
tial of the Church, (although in the opinion 
of many it is a matter of importance to her 
well-being,) and we all retain a respectful 
and friendly opinion of each other, not see- 
ing any reason why so small a disagreement 
should so produce any alienation of affection 
among us." And after proposing some com- 
mon principles, on which they might draw 
more closely together, he adds — " But if a 
difference of opinion, with regard to these 
points of external order, must continue, 
why may we not be of one heart, and of 
one, mind.^ or why should this disagreement 



break the bonds of good brotherhood ?" (Ire- 
iiicum, Sect. 6.) 

The same practical concession was made 
by the Rev. Bishop Davenant, another of 
the delegates to the Synod of Dort, from the 
Church of England. After his return from 
that Synod, and after his advancement to 
the bishopric of Salisbury, he published a 
work in which he urged, with much earnest- 
ness and force, a fraternal union among all 
the Reformed Churches. A plan which in- 
volved an explicit acknowledgment that the 
Reformed Churches, most of which were 
Presbyterian, were true Churches of Christ, 
and which, indeed, contained in its very title 
a declaration that these churches " did not 
differ from the Church of England in any 
fundamental article of Christian faith." The 
title of the work is as follows: " *8.d Frater- 
nam Conimunionem inter Evangelicas Ec- 
clesias restaiirandam Jidhortatio; in eo 
fundata, quod non dissentiant in ullo fun- 
damentali Catholicx fidei articulo.^^ {Caji- 
tab. 1640.) 

But to return to the Synod of Dort. It 
was opened on the 13th of November, 161S. 
John Eogerman, one of the deputies from 
Friesland, was chosen moderator, or presi- 


dent; and Jacobus Rolandus, one of the min- 
isters of Amsterdam, and Herman Fauke- 
lius, minister of Middleburg, his assessors, 
or assistants. The two secretaries were Se- 
bastian Dammannus, minister of Zutphen, 
and Festus Hommius, minister of Leyden. 

Each of the members of the Synod, before 
proceeding to business, took the following 
solemn oath, or engagement: "I promise 
before God, in whom I believe, and whom 
I worship, as being present in this place, 
and as being tlie Searcher of all hearts, that 
during the course of the proceedings of this 
Synod, which will examine and decide, not 
only the five points, and ail the differences 
resulting from them, but also any other doc- 
trine, I will use no human writing, but only 
the word of God, which is an infallible rule 
offaiih. And during all these discussions, 
I will only aim at the glory of God, the 
peace of the Church, and especially the pre- 
servation of the purity of doctrine. So help 
me, my Saviour, Jesus Christ! I beseech 
him to assist me by his Holy Spirit!" 

It was some time before the delegates of 
the Remonstrants, or Arminian party, made 
their appearance. At the twenty-second 
session of the Synod, Episcopius, and his 



twelve colleagues, who had been summon- 
ed for this purpose, presented themselves to 
make their explanation and defence. In un- 
dertaking this task, they manifested the same 
disposition to delay, to elude' inquiry, and to 
throw obstacles in the way of every plan of 
proceeding that was proposed. Episcopius 
was their chief speaker; and with great art 
and address did he manage their cause. He 
insisted on being permitted to begin with a 
refutation of the Calvinistic doctrines, espe- 
cially that of reprobation, hoping that, by 
placing his objections to this doctrine in front 
of all the rest, he might excite such preju- 
dice against the other articles of the system, 
as to secure the popular voice in his favour. 
The Synod, however, very properly, remind- 
ed him, that they had not convened for the 
purpose of trying the Confession of Faith of 
the Belgic Churches, which had been long 
established and well known; but that, as 
the Remonstrants were accused of depart- 
ing from the reformed faith, they were bound 
Jirst to justify themselves, by giving Scrip- 
tural proof in support of their opinions. 

To this plan of procedure they would 
by no means submit. It disconcerted their 
whole scheme; but the Synod firmly refused 


to adopt any other plan. This refusal, of 
course, shut the Remonstrants out from tak- 
ing any part in the deliberations of the body. 
Day after day were they reasoned with, and 
urged to submit to a course of proceeding 
ecclesiastically regular, and adapted to their 
situation, but without success. They were, 
therefore, compelled to withdraw. Upon 
their departure, the Synod proceeded with- 
out them. 

The language of the President (Boger- 
raan) in dismissing the Remonstrants was 
rough, and adapted to give pain. He point- 
edly charged them with fraudulent proceed- 
ings, with disingenuous acts, with falsehood, 
&c. For this language, however, he alone 
was responsible. It had not been dictated 
or authorized by the Synod. And a number 
of the members, we are assured, heard it 
with regret, and expressed their disapproba- 
tion of it. (Hales's Works, III. 123.) And 
yet, while this language was severe, and, 
for an ecclesiastical assembly unseemly; was 
it not substantially, according to truth? 

The Synod does not appear to have ac- 
complished its work by referring different 
portions of it to ditlerent committees; but 


the plan adopted was to request the divines 
from each country represented in the Synod 
to consult together, and bring in their sepa- 
rate opinions or judgments in regard to the 
main points in controversy. So that the 
sentence, or opinion of the Dutch divines, of 
the English divines, of-the Genevese divines, 
&c. &c., were separately obtaint.l, and dis- 
tinctly recorded in the proceedings of the 
Synod. This method of conducting the 
business was probably less favourable to 
dispassionate and perfectly calm proceed- 
ings than if committees had matured in pri- 
vate every part of the work. 

The Synod examined the Arminian tenets; 
condemned them as unscriptural, pestilential 
errors; and pronounced those who held and 
published them to be enemies of the faith of 
the Belgic churches, and corrupters of the 
true religion. They also deposed the Ar- 
minian ministers; excluded them and their 
followers from the communion of the church; 
suppressed their religious assemblies; and 
by the aid of the civil government, which 
confirmed all their acts, sent a number of 
the clergy of that party, and of those who 
adhered to them, into banishment. From a 


large part of their disabilities, however, the 
Romonstrants, after the lapse of a few years, 
were relieved. ' 

It is probable that all impartial persons, 
who make up an opinion with that hght, 
and those habits of thinking with regard to 
religious liberty which we now possess, will 
judge that ronie of these proceedings were 
by far too narsh and violent. To suppress 
the religious assemblies of the Remonstrants, 
by secular authority, and to banish their 
leaders from their country, were measures 
v/hich we cannot, at this day, contemplate 
but with deep regret, as inconsistent with 
those rights of conscience, which we must 
regard as indefeasible. But when we con- 
sider that those rights were really understood 
by no branch of the Christian Church at that 
day; when we recollect that in the Church 
of England, during the reign of the same 
James I., who sent representatives to this 
Synod, more than twenty persons were put 
to death for their religion, at least two of 
whom were burnt alive, viz. Bartholomew 
Legate, at Sniithfield,by the direct influence 
of Dr. King, Bishop of London ; and Edward 
Wightman, at Litchfield, by the equally di- 
rect influence of Bishop Neill, of Litchfield 


and Coventry; and that many hundreds 
were banished their country; — and when 
we recollect that even the pious Puritans, 
who migrated from their own country to 
America, that they might enjoy religious 
liberty, persecuted, in their turn, even unto 
death for the sake of religion; and especially 
when we remember the disingenuous, pro- 
voking, unworthy course by which the Re- 
monstrants had divided and agitated the Bel- 
gic churches for a number of years; — and 
also the highly unbecoming language which 
they employed even before the Synod;* — 
when all these things are considered, it is 
presumed no impartial man will wonder, 
though he may weep, at some of the pro- 
ceedings of that far-famed and venerable 
Synod. After all, however, there can be no 
doubt that a large part of the violence popu- 
larly ascribed to that Synod, existed only in 
the imaginations, the complaints, and the 
books of the Remonstrants; who were not, 
of course, impartial judges. The learning, 
piety, and venerable character of the great 
and good men who composed it, ought to be 
considered as an ample guaranty of the de- 

* Sec Halcs's LcUcrs from the Synod of Dort, Vol. III. 
p. 69, 80, 101, &.C. 


corum of their proceedings. But, more than 
this: if the Synod had not been entirely de- 
cent in its mode of conducting business, can'' 
we imagine that Bishop Hall, one of the 
EngUsh delegates, a man remarkable for the 
piety, benevolence, and araiableness of his 
character, would have said, " There was no 
place upon earth which he regarded as so 
like heaven as the Synod of Dort, or in which 
he should be more glad to remain?" Surely 
the testimony of such a man is more worthy 
of confidence than the statements of men 
who were smarting under the disciphne of 
the Synod. 

I have said that the Synod condemned the 
Remonstrants. In this they were imanimous. 
The Canons of the Synod, which contain 
their decision with regard to the five Ar- 
minian articles, and which are presented in 
this volume, were adopted without a dis- 
senting voice. We are not, however, to 
suppose from this fact, that all the members 
of the Synod were entirely of one mind in 
regard to all the points embraced in those 
articles. This was by no means the case. 
There was much warm discussion during 
the transactions of the Synod. Some mem- 
bers of the body, such as Gomarus, and 


Others, were advocates of the most high- 
toned Supralapsarian Calvinism; while an- 
other portion of the members were not dis- 
posed to go further than the sublapsarian 
hypothesis; and though all agreed in con- 
demning the Remonstrants, yet a very small 
number of the delegates appear to have oc- 
cupied ground not very different from that 
which we commonly called Baxterian. The 
Canons, however, were such as they could all 
unite in. The praise vyhich Dr. Scott be- 
stows on the Formulary of Faith drawn up 
by the Synod, as a wise, moderate, well 
digested, and well expressed exhibition of 
theological principles, is well merited. It is 
worthy of high commendation. It must be 
confessed, indeed, that, as a moimment of 
ecclesiastical wisdom, taste, sound learning, 
judgment, and singular comprehensiveness, 
the results of the Westminster Assembly, a 
few years afterwards, not a little exceed 
those of Dort; but the latter stand next in 
order, on the scale of Synodical labours. 
Among all the uninspired theological com- 
positions of the seventeenth century, many 
of the best judges are of the opinion that the 
" Confession of Faith" and " Catechisms" 
framed by the Westminster Assembly, hold 


the very highest place. The writer of this 
page is free to confess that he has never 
seen any human document of that age, or, 
indeed,of any other, public or private, which, 
in his estimation, is quite equal to them for 
the purpose wliich they were destined to 

The Synod of Dort continued to sit from 
the 13th of November, a. d. 1618, to the 
29th of May, 1619. It held, in all, one hun- 
dred and eighty sittings; and was conducted 
entirely at the expense of the States General. 

Dr. Mosheim speaks with more than his 
usual candour when he treats of the heat 
and violence which broke out, on various 
occasions, in Holland, in the course of the 
Arminian controversy; and especially of the 
political animosity which unfortunately be- 
came intimately connected with that theo- 
logical and ecclesiastical dispute, and which 
led to the beheading of Oldenbarneveldt, 
and to the banishment of Grotius, Hooger- 
beets, and others. The truth is, in a number 
of cases, the political aspect of the subject 
became the prominent one. The conse- 
quence was, that many men became impli- 
cated in it who laid no claim to piety; hence 
the frequency with which the affair had the 


appearance of a contest among politicians 
rather than Christians. Still it is believed 
that even these secular struggles have been 
magnified for the sake of blackening the 
anti-Arminian body, who happened to be 
connected with the strongest political party. 

In the Church of Holland, the majority 
against the Remonstrants, and in favour of 
orthodoxy, was very large. Judging from 
the number of ministers reckoned in the es- 
tablished church, and among the Remon- 
strants, the latter did not constitute more 
than a thirtieth part of the population. And 
the proportion remains pretty much the same 
still: for although since that time the num- 
ber is greatly increased, among the ministers 
of the Dutch churches, of those who embrace 
Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian sentiments; yet 
many who agree with the Remonstrants in 
doctrinal opinions, and even some who go 
mucli further in heresy than they, do not 
take their name, or unite with their societies, 
as the Remonstrants labour under civil dis- 
abilities, which multitudes who substantially 
agree with them in sentiment, do not choose 
to incur by openly joining their ranks. 

After the death of the Piince of Orange, 
A. D. 1625, the Remonstrants began to be 


treated more mildly. The ministers were 
recalled from their banishment, and restored 
to their functions and churches; and from 
that period to the present, have been tolera- 
ted in the United Provinces, and more lately 
since the change of government, in the king- 
dom of Holland. Indeed, it is melancholy 
to say, that, for a number of years past, in 
the kingdom of Holland, Pelagian and Uni- 
tarian sentiments have obtained such cur- 
rency in the church of that country, that the 
only difficulty has been for the friends of 
truth to obtain permission to preach, unob- 
structed, the pure Gospel. 

Although the many and great evils which 
always result from tlie civil establishment of 
religion, may not have been so strongly ex- 
emplified in the Church of Holland, as in 
some other countries, yet through the whole 
of the controversy now in question, as well 
as on various occasions since, we have seen 
that this unhallowed connection, however 
coveted by worldly minded ecclesiastics, in 
all cases stands in the way of the simple and 
pure dispensation of the Gospel, and never 
fails to be a curse rather than a blessing. 
And this, we may confidently say, has been, 
substantially, the judgment of the best men 


in all ages in which any just sentiments on 
this subject have prevailed or been cherished 
at all. Mr. Gibbon, if I mistake not, has 
somewhere observed, with a sarcastic sneer, 
that he is sorry to say, that the earliest and 
most zealous advocates of religious liberty, 
have ever been laymen, ^ndi not ministers of 
religion. However well-informed that learn- 
ed infidel may have been on other subjects, 
he is here under a mistake which, however, 
may be easily accounted for. The charac- 
ter of his mind, and the habits of his life led 
him to a much more intimate acquaintance 
with the writings of laymen and worldly 
minded ecclesiastics, than with the works of 
evaSigelical and orthodox ministers. No 
wonder, then, that he was ignorant of some 
testimony on this subject, which, had he 
been acquainted with it, would have led to 
a different judgment. When the Priscillian- 
ists, in the fourth century, were persecuted 
and delivered over to the secular arm to be 
punished with death, who lamented and op- 
posed the cruel oppression which they en- 
dured? Martin, Bishop of Tours, an emi- 
nently pious man, with a number of others 
of like spirit, mourned over the treatment 
which they received, remonstrated against 


it, and pronounced it a fiovum ei inauditum 
nefas. And in regard to the writers on the 
subject of reUgious liberty in the seventeenth" 
century, to whom there was probably a spe- 
cial reference in the remark which is now 
combatted, the simplest statement of facts 
will show that the earliest, and most tho- 
rough-going advocates of religious liberty, 
at that period, were all ecclesiastical men; 
and all of that class with which Mr. Gibbon 
would be neither likely nor disposed to have 
much acquaintance. 

In 1614, the Rev. Leonard Busher, a 
zealous Brownist, or ultra Independent min- 
ister, presented to king James I. and his par- 
liament, " Religious Peace, or a Plea for 
Liberty of Conscience." The leading object 
of this treatise is to show, that the true way 
to make a nation happy is, "to give liberty 
to all to serve God according as they are 
persuaded is most agreeable to his word; to 
speak, write, print peaceably and without 
molestation in behalf of their several tenets 
and ways of worship." In a few years 
afterwards, the Rev. John Robinson, a di- 
vine of the Church of England, who had 
been bred at the University of Cambridge, 
and fled from persecution in his native coun- 


try to Holland, where he cast in his lot with 
the Independents, published two works, one 
entitled "A Justification of Separation from 
the Church of England;" and another in 
explanation and defence of the first, entitled 
" A Just and Necessarie Apologie," &c. In 
these works he contended with no small 
force, both of learning and argument, that 
Christ's kingdom is not of this world; — that 
it is entirely spiritual, and He its spiritual 
King; and that civil magistrates have no 
right to interfere, in any wise, or in any 
case, with liberty of conscience. In 1644, 
the celebrated Roger Williams, a native of 
England; a graduate of the University of 
Oxford; who had received orders in the 
Established Church of England; who came 
to New England in 1630, and there cast in 
his lot with the Independents; and ulti- 
mately becoming a Bapiist, withdrew from 
Massachusetts to Rhode Island, where he 
became the pastor of the first Baptist church 
in the American Colonies, and established 
a separate government, published a work 
under the following title — "The Bloody 
Tenet of Persecution for the cause of Con- 
science," in which he plead for liberty of 
conscience on the broadest and most liberal 


principles. In short, he carried the doctrine 
to the utmost length, and maintained that 
the civil magistrate has no right to enforce 
any of the precepts contained in the first 
tabl(3 of the Decalogue. And, what is still 
more to the honour of Roger Williams, as 
he was, in a sort, the civil ruler, as well as 
the spiritual guide, of the colony of Rhode 
Island, it deserves to be recorded that he 
was the first Governor who ever practically 
acknowledged that complete liberty of con- 
scieuoe was the birth-right of man, and who 
really and consistently yielded it to those 
who widely differed from him, when he had 
the full power to withhold it. 

In 1649, the Rev, Dr. John Owen, edu- 
cated in the University of Oxford, and after- 
wards Vice-Chancellor of that University, 
universally known to have been an eminent 
Independent minister, and one of the greatest 
theologians of his age, published a work on 
"' Toleration," which does honour to his 
memory, and deserves to be ranked among 
the best publications on that subject. He 
does not, indeed, in his theory, go quite so 
far as Roger Williams; yet he explicitly 
states, and by a variety of arguments main- 
tains, that " the civil magistrate has no right 


to meddle with the reHgion of any person 
whose conduct is not injurious to society, 
and destructive of its peace and order." 
And it ought to be stated, to the honour of 
this great and good man, that he acted on 
the principles which he had avowed, when 
his own party was triumphant, and he had 
it in his power to oppress. It is also further 
worthy of notice, that, some years after the 
publication of this work, when the Puritans 
in New England were, most inconsistently, 
persecuting the Baptists and Quakers, Dr. 
Owen, at the head of a body of Noncon- 
formist ministers in London, sent an address 
to them, remonstrating against their conduct, 
and entreating them to cease from their per- 
secuting measures, which, accordingly, they 
soon did. The language of this address is 
striking and to the point. Among other 
things it is said — " We make it our hearty 
request, that you will trust God with his 
truth and ways, so far as to suspend all 
rigorous proceedings in corporeal restraints 
or punishments on persons that dissent from 
you, and practice the principles of their dis- 
sent, without danger or disturbance to the 
civil peace." 

Perhaps the learned reader will be apt to 

introduh:tory essay. 53 

ask, why the name of Bishop Jeremy Tay- 
lor has not a place assigned in this list of ad-^ 
vocates for religious liberty. The reason for 
not giving him a conspicuous place in this 
honoured catalogue, will appear from the 
following statement. In the year 1647, that 
great and eloquent man, who has been 
strongly styled " the Shakespeare of the 
English pulpit," published his " Liberty of 
Prophesying," in which a great deal of im- 
portant truth on this subject is communi- 
cated, with a power for which the author 
was distinguished in all his works. The 
writer, however, argues chiefly from consi- 
derations which do not hold a legitimate, 
and certainly not a primary place among 
the controlling arguments on this subject. 
For example, he reasons in favour of reli- 
gious liberty, from the difficulty of expound- 
ing the Scriptures so as to arrive at any cer- 
tain conclusion on some points; from the 
incompetency of Popes, Councils, or the 
Church at large, to determine articles of 
faith; from the innocence of error, where 
there is real piety; and from the antiquity 
and plausibility of various sentiments and 
practices generally held to be erroneous. It 
is more on such grounds as these that he 


rests his defence of toleration, than on the 
inherent and essential rights of men, and the 
authority of the word of God. Such an ad- 
vocate can scarcely be recognised as plead- 
ing for the same principles with Williams, 
Owen, and his other clerical contemporaries 
in the same nominal field. 

But there is another, and still more seri- 
ous objection to our assigning to Jeremy 
Taylor an honourable place in the list of 
early and able advocates of religious liberty. 
When he wrote his work on the " Liberty of 
Prophesying," he and his church were un- 
der the frown of government. He was, in 
fact, pleading for toleration for himself and 
for Episcopacy. When Charles II. was re- 
stored to the throne; when Taylor came 
forth from retirement and oppression; and 
when he was raised to the Episcopate, he 
consented to become a member of the privy 
council of that faithless and profligate mon- 
arch, from which so many persecuting edicts 
against the non-conformists issued, to the 
disgrace of their authors. And even if it be 
doubted whether he ever took any active 
part in the persecuting edicts of that mon- 
arch, as a member of his council, yet it is 
notorious and unquestionable, that in his 


diocese in Ireland, he was chargeable with 
much and severe persecution. If he ever 
entertained correct sentiments in respect to^ 
the rights of conscience, he forgot or disre- 
garded them all when he rose to power, and 
was enabled to persecute. (See Orme's Life 
of Owen, p. 101; and the History of the 
Presbyterian Church in Ireland, by James 
Seaton Reid, D. D. M. R. S. A. p. 344, &c.) 

While justice is done to the ministers of 
the gospel above mentioned, I have no de- 
sire to derogate, in the least degree, from the 
credit due to Milton,* and Locke,t of the 
same century, whom it is the fashion to eulo- 
gize, as the great pioneers in pleading for 
religious liberty. There is no doubt that 
both these illustrious laymen wrote nobly in 
defence of the cause in question; and that 
both ought to be held in grateful remem- 
brance for their noble services; yet it is sure- 
ly wrong to ascribe to them, meritorious as 
they were, all the credit of originating a doc- 
trine which had been held, and publicly de- 
fended many years, before either of them 

* Milton's work, entitled ''A Treatise of Civil Power 
in Ecclesiastical Causes," was published in 1659. 

t Locke's first Letter on Toleration was published, in 
Holland, in the Latin language, in 1689. 


had published or written a line on the sub- 

The National Synod of Holland has never 
met since the adjournment of the Synod of 
Dort, in 1619. By the fiftieth article of the 
Rules of Government which that Synod 
adopted, it was prescribed that a general 
Synod should meet every three years, but 
not without the approbation of the civil go- 
vernment. This article, however, has never 
been carried into effect, either because the 
magistrates have withheld their consent, or 
because the Church has never asked the ne- 
cessary permission. The original manuscript 
of the " Acts of the Synod of Dort," having 
been put into the possession of the States 
General, they, in the year 1625, resolved 
that that manuscript should, every three 
years, be inspected by delegates from their 
own body, and deputies from the provincial 
Synods jointly. Accordingly this ceremony, 
we are told, is gone through, with a punc- 
tilious formality, in the month of May of 
every third year. Twenty-two deputies from 
the Synods repair to the Hague, where they 
are joined by two delegates of the secular 
government. This joint body then proceeds 
to the public chamber in which the chest 


containing the Acts of the Synod are depo- 
sited. This chest is opened with eight seve-, 
ral keys. The Acts, which are neatly bound 
up in seventeen volumes, are formally taken 
out and shown, first to the governmental de- 
legates, and then to the clerical members of 
the body. This ceremony is preceded and 
followed with prayer, after which the mem- 
bers of the inspecting committee dine toge- 
ther, and thus terminates their tri-ennial 

The venerable Dr. Scott was prompted, 
he tells us, to undertake the translation of 
the official history and canons of the Synod 
of Dort, by the persuasion that they had been 
greatly misapprehended by the religious pub- 
lic, in which he had himself, for many years, 
largely participated. The truth is, the mis- 
representations of the proceedings of that 
Synod by Peter Heylin, and Daniel Tilenus, 
are so gross and shameful, that it is difficult 
adequately to animadvert upon them in 
strictly temperate language. As to Peter 
Heylin, he hardly knew how to speak the 
truth when Calvinism or Presbyterianism 
was in question. And, with respect to Daniel 
Tilenus, who was a theological Professor 
in the Presbyterian seminary at Sedan, in 


France, and had been once a Calvinist, but 
afterwards joined the Arminian ranks, his 
prejudices against his old opinions became, 
after his apostasy, so perfectly bitter and 
blinding, that he seemed incapable of repre- 
senting them otherwise than under the most 
revolting caricature. No wonder that those 
who believed these men, regarded the Acts 
of the Synod with abhorrence. Dr. Scott, as 
the reader will perceive, declares himself sa- 
tisfied, that the proceedings of the Synod had 
been greatly and criminally slandered ; that 
their canons were among the most Scriptu- 
ral and excellent formularies he had ever 
seen ; and that he thought it incumbent on 
him to do all in his power to remove the 
vail from the false statements concerning 
them which had been so confidently made, 
and to the circulation of which he had him- 
self, in some degree, unintentionally contri- 

This translation was among the last works 
if not the very last, which Dr. Scott gave to 
the public. It was published only a few 
months prior to his decease, and was pre- 
pared by him under an immediate impres- 
sion of that solemn account which he was 
so nearly approaching, and of the duty which 

1 N T R O D V^ TORY ESSAY. 59 

he owed to the public in behalf of a greatly 
injured body. 

The following remarks of Mons. Bayle, ' 
in his Biographical Dictionary, under the ar- 
ticle Arminius, are so apposite and pointed 
as to form a very appropriate extract for this 
Introductory Essay. Bayle himself was, 
probably, neither a Calvinist nor an Armi- 
nian, but a cool insidious sceptic. His judg- 
ment, therefore, on this controversy, may be 
considered as the decision of a shrewd, and, 
as to this point, an impartial mind, on a mat- 
ter concerning which he had no point to 
gain, or party to serve. 

" It were to be wished that he, (Arminius,) 
had made a better use of his knowledge. I 
mean, that he had governed himself by St. 
Paul's rule. This great Apostle, immediate- 
ly inspired by God, and directed by the Holy 
Ghost in all his writings, raised to himself 
the objection which the light of nature forms 
against the doctrine of absolute predestina- 
tion. He apprehended the whole force of 
the objection; and he proposes it without 
weakening it in the least degree. Romans 
ix. IS. God hath mercy on whom he will 
have mercy ^ and whom he loill he harden- 
eth. This is Paul's doctrine; and the difli- 


culty which he starts upon it is this — Thou 
wilt say, then^ unto me, Why doth he yet 
find fault, for who hath resisted his will? 
This objection cannot be pushed further; 
twenty pages, by the most subtile Molinist, 
could add nothing to it. What more could 
they infer than that, upon Calvin's hypothe- 
sis, God wills men to commit sin? Now this 
is what St. Paul knew might be objected 
against him; but what does he reply? Does 
he seek for distinctions and qualifications? 
Does he deny the fact? Does he grant it in 
part only? Does he enter into particulars? 
Does he remove any ambiguity in the words? 
Nothing of all this. He only alleges the 
sovereign power of God, and the supreme 
right which the Creator has to dispose of his 
creatures as it seems good to him. Nay, but 
O man, ivho art thou that repliest against 
God? He acknowledges an incomprehensi- 
bility in the thing which ought to put a stop 
to all disputes, and to impose a profound 
silence on our reason. He cries out, the 
depth of the riches both of the wisdom and 
knowledge of God! How unsearchable are 
his judgments, and his ways are past find- 
ing out. All Christians ought to find here 
a definitive sentence, a judgment final, and 


without appeal in the dispute about grace. 
Or rather, they should learn from this con- 
duct of St. Paul never to dispute about pre- 
destination, and immediately to oppose this 
bar against all the subtleties of human wit, 
whether they arise of themselves, in medi- 
tating on this great subject, or whether others 
suggest them. The best and the shortest 
way is, early to oppose this strong bank 
against the inundations of reasoning, and to 
consider this definitive sentence of St. Paul 
as a rock immoveable in the midst of the 
waves, against which the proudest billows 
may beat in vain. They may foam and dash, 
but are only broken against them. All ar- 
rows darted against this shield, will have 
the same fate as that of Priam." 

Further on, the same writer says — "To a 
system full of great difficulties, Arminius has 
substituted another system, which, to speak 
truly, involves no less difficulties than the 
former. One may say of his doctrine what I 
have observed of the innovations of Sau- 
mur. It is better connected, and less forced 
than the opinions of Mr. Amyraut; but, af- 
ter all, it is but a palliative remedy; for the 
Armiuians have scarcely been able to answer 
some objections which, as they pretend, can- 



not be refuted upon Calvin's system. Be- 
sides, they find themselves exposed to other 
difficulties which they cannot get over but 
by an ingenuous confession of the weakness 
of human reason, and the consideration of 
the incomprehensible infinity of God. And 
was it worth while to contradict Calvin for 
this? Why was Arminius so very difficult 
at first, when, at last, he was obliged to fly 
to this asylum ? Why did he not begin here, 
since here he must come sooner or later? He 
is mistaken who imagines that, after enter- 
ing the lists with a great disputant, he shall 
be allowed to triumph only for some small 
advantage which he had over him at first. 
An athletic, who throws out his antagonist 
in the middle of the race, but has not the ad- 
vantage of him at the end, is not entitled to 
the palm. It is the same in controversy. It 
is not sufficient to parry the first thrusts. 
Every reply and rejoinder must be satisfied, 
and every doubt perfectly cleared up. Now 
this is what neither the hypothesis of Armi- 
nius, nor that of the Molinists, nor that of 
the Socinians is able to do. The system of 
the Arminians is only calculated to give 
some few advantages in those preludes to 
war, in which the forlorn hope is sent out to 

I N T R o D ^^c tory essay. 63 

skirmish. But when it comes to a general 
and decisive battle, this detachment must re- 
tire, as well as the rest, behind the intrench- 
ments of incomprehensible mystery." 

Perhaps it may be said, that no theologi- 
cal system was ever more grossly misrepre- 
sented, or more foully or unjustly vilified 
than that which is commonly called Calvin- 
ism; but which had been drawn from the 
word of God, and preached by some of the 
best men that ever lived, many hundreds of 
years before Calvin was born. The truth is, 
it would be difficult to name a writer or 
speaker who has distinguished himself by 
opposing this system, who has fairly repre- 
sented it, or who really appeared to under- 
stand it. They are for ever fighting against 
an imaginary monster of their own creation. 
They picture to themselves the consequences 
which they suppose unavoidably flow from 
the real principles of Calvinists, and then, 
most unjustly, represent these consequences 
as a part of the system itself, as held by its 
advocates. Whether this arises from thfe 
want of knowledge, or the want of candour, 
is not for me to decide; but the effect is the 
same, and the conduct worthy of severe cen- 
sure. How many an eloquent page of anti- 


Calvinistic declamation would be instantly 
seen by every reader to be either calumny 
or nonsense, if it had been preceded by an 
honest statement of what the system, as held 
by Calvinists, really is! 

The enemies of the system allege, that it 
represents God as really the author of sin, 
and man as laid under a physical necessity 
of sinning, and then as damned for it, do 
what he can. They insist that our doctrine 
of depravity, and the mode of inheriting it, 
if true, destroys moral agency; reduces men 
to the condition of mere machines; and, of 
course, makes all punishment of sin unjust 
and absurd. In short, they contend, that 
the views which we give of the plan of sal- 
vation, makes a system of heathenish fate, 
or of refined Antinomianism, equally de- 
structive of holiness and of comfort; and 
that, under the guise of free grace, we build 
up a fabric of favouritism on the one hand, 
and of fixed necessity on the other; at once 
making God a partial being, and a tyrant, 
and man a mere passive subject of his arbi- 
trary will. But, is it true that Calvinists 
embrace any such system as this? Nothing 
can be further from the truth. It is a shame- 
ful misrepresentation, which has no corres- 


pondence with any thing but the caricatures 
of prejudice and bigotry. Calvinists abhor 
such sentiments just as much as their uncan- 
did accusers. Many wise and excellent men 
have been of the opinion that Arminian prin- 
ciples, when traced out to their natural and 
unavoidable consequences, lead to an inva- 
sion of the essential attributes of God, and, 
of course, to blank and cheerless atheism. 
Yet, in making a statement of the Arminian 
system, as actually held by its advocates, 
what candid man would allow himself to 
introduce into the delineation any thing dif- 
ferent from or beyond the actual admissions 
of those advocates? The system itself is one 
thing; the consequences which maybe drawn 
from it another. 

It is not pretended that the Calvinistic sys- 
tem is free from all difficulties. When finite 
creatures are called to scan either the works 
or the revealed will of an Infinite Being, 
they must be truly demented if they expect 
to find nothing which is incomprehensible. 
Accordingly, when we undertake to solve 
some of the difficulties which the Calvinistic 
system presents, it cannot be denied that 
"such knowledge is too wonderful for us; it 
is high, we cannot attain unto it." How to 


reconcile what the Scriptures plainly reveal, 
on the one hand, concerning the entire de- 
pendence of man; and, on the other, con- 
cerning his activity and responsibility; how 
to explain the perfect foreknowledge and 
predestination of God, in consistency with 
the perfect freedom and moral agency of his 
intelligent creatures, is a problem which no 
thinking man expects fully to solve. But 
the question is, are there fewer difficulties 
attending any other system? Especially are 
there fewer difficulties attending the Armi- 
nian or Pelagain system, one or the other of 
which is usually the resort of those who re- 
ject Calvinism? Tiiere are not; nay, instead 
of being less, they are greater — far greater 
both in number and magnitude. For ex- 
ample, it is easy, and, in the estimation of 
the superficial and unreflecting, it appears 
conclusive, to object, that Calvinism has a 
tendency to cut the nerves of all spiritual 
exertion; that if we are elected, we shall be 
saved, do what we will; and, if not elected, we 
shall be lost, do what we can. But is it not 
perfectly evident, that the objection here lies 
with quite as much force against the Armi- 
nian or Pelagian hypothesis? Arminians 
and Pelagians both grant that all men will 



not actually be saved; that the salvation or 
perdition of each individual is distinctly fore- 
known by God; and that the event will cer- 
tainly happen as He foresees that it will. 
May not a caviller, then, say, with quite as 
much appearance of justice, in this case, as 
m the other; •' the result, as to my salvation, 
though unknown to me, is known to God, 
and certain. If I am to be saved, no anxiety 
about it is necessary; and if I am to perish, 
all anxiety about it would be useless." But 
would an Arminian consider such an objec- 
tion as valid against his creed? Probably 
not. Yet it is certainly just as valid against 
his creed as against ours. The truth is, the 
Arminian, by resorting to his scheme, does 
not really get rid of one particle of the diffi- 
culty which he alleges against the Calvin- 
istic system: he only places it one step fur- 
ther back, but must meet it in its full strength 
after all. Until we can bring ourselves to 
swallow the monstrous absurdity, that what 
is to be, will not be; that what God foresees 
as certain, may never happen, the cavil, such 
as it is, remains unanswered. If there be a 
God who is endowed with perfect foreknow- 
ledge, and who is, and always has been, act- 
ing upon a plan, of which he knows the end 


from the beginning — and there is such a 
Being, or there is no God; — then all the 
difficulty which lies against the doctrine of 
sovereign, unconditional predetermination, 
lies equally, and in all its unmitigated force, 
against the doctrine of foreknowledge and 
certain futurition, in any form that can be im- 
agined; and all the shocking consequences 
with which they charge Calvinism, are quite 
as legitimately chargeable against any and 
every scheme, short of Atheism, which may 
be embraced to get rid of them. 

No other proof of this is needed than the 
subterfuges to which Arminians and Pela- 
gians have resorted in order to obviate the 
objections which they have felt pressing on 
their respective schemes. Some have denied 
the possibility of God's foreknowing future 
contingencies; alleging that such foreknow- 
ledge cannot be conceived or admitted, more 
than the power of doing impossibilities, or 
doing what involves a contradiction. Others 
have denied the plenary foreknowledge of 
God altogether; alleging that there are many 
things which he does not choose to know; — 
the latter making the divine ignorance of 
many future things voluntary, while the for- 
mer consider it as necessary. A third class, 


to get rid of the same difficulties, take re- 
fuge in the principle that the Most High 
is deficient in power as well as in know- 
ledge; that his plan — so far as he has any — 
is continually thwarted and opposed be- 
yond his power of control. That he would 
be glad to have less natural and moral 
evil in his kingdom than exists; would be 
glad to have many more saved than will be 
saved; but is not able to fulfil his wishes; 
and is constantly restrained and defeated by 
his own creatures! 

Do not these boasted refuges from Calvin- 
ism shock every mind not thoroughly hard- 
ened and profane? Do not the allegations that 
God is not omnipotent; that he is not omni- 
scient; that he is not acting upon an eternal 
and settled plan; that his purposes, instead of 
being eternal, are all formed in time; and in- 
stead of being immutable, are all liable to be 
altered every day, and are, in fact, altered by 
the changing will of his creatures; that there 
is no certainty of his predictions and promises 
ever being fulfilled, because he can neither 
foresee nor control future contingencies; that 
it is his express design to save all men alike, 
while yet it is certain that all will not be sav- 
ed; that he purposes as much, and does as 


much for those who perish, as for those who 
are saved; but is, after all, baffled and disap- 
pointed in his hopes concerning them; that 
he is certain of nothing, because he has de- 
termined on nothing, positively, and, if he 
had, is not able to do all his pleasure — do 
not such allegations fill every thinking mind 
with horror? Are they not equally contrary 
to Scripture, to reason, and to all the hopes 
and consolations of the pious? Would not 
such a God, with reverence be it spoken, be 
the most unhappy being in the universe? 
True, indeed, Arminians do not recognise 
these horrid consequences, and, therefore, 
cannot be charged with holding them; but 
they are not, on this account, the less inevi- 
table, or the less awful. 

But though that system of grace usually 
denominated Calvinism, is now in such bad 
odour with multitudes in the Church of 
England, and with many connected with 
her ecclesiastical Daughter in this country — 
it was not always so. When the Synod of 
Dort convened, the same theological system 
which that celebrated Synod sustained, was 
the reigning creed in the Church of England, 
and had been so, beyond all question, for 
more than half a century. This has, indeed, 


been denied; but it would be just as reason- 
able to deny that such men as Cranmer and^ 
Whitgift, and Hooker, and Hall, and Usher 
ever occupied stations in the established 
Church of that land. Testimony to estab- 
lish the position which has been assumed, 
which prejudice itself cannot refute, crowds 
upon us, and offers itself on every side. 

The testimony of Peter Heylin, a bitter 
enemy to Calvinism, is clear and decisive. 
" It cannot be denied," says he, " but that, 
by the error of these times, the reputation 
which Calvin had attained to in both Uni- 
versities, and the extreme diligence of his 
followers, there was a general tendency unto 
his opinions; his book of Institutes being, for 
the most part, the foundation on which the 
young divines of those days did build their 
studies." Again he declares — " Of any men 
who publicly opposed the Calvinian tenets, 
in the university of Oxford, till after the be- 
ginning of king James's reign, I must con- 
fess that I have hitherto found no good as- 
surance." He speaks of two divines of in- 
ferior note, who secretly propagated Armi- 
nian principles; and compares them to the 
prophet Elijah, who considered himself as 


left alone to oppose a whole world of idola- 
ters." Further: in the reign of Charles I., 
more than sixty years after the final settling 
of the thirty-nine Articles, when a suppres- 
sion of the Calvinistic doctrines was contem- 
plated by Archbishop Laud, Heylin acknow- 
ledges that such was the general attachment 
of the bishops and clergy to these doctrines, 
that the Arminian party did not dare to 
"venture the determining of these points to 
a Convocation." And he again explicitly 
informs us, that, from the re-setthng of the 
Church under Queen Elizabeth, to the period 
already mentioned, " the maintainers of the 
anti-Calvinian doctrines were few in number, 
and made but a very thin appearance."* 

The famous Lambeth Articles, drawn up 
in 1595, during the reign of Queen Eliza- 
beth, are acknowledged by all who ever read 
them, to be among the most strongly mark- 
ed Calvinistical compositions that ever were 
penned. They were drawn up by Arch- 
bishop Whitgift, then at the head of the Eng- 
lish established Church, and one of its most 
conspicuous divines and fathers. The arch- 

* Sec Heylin's Quinq. Hist. Work, p. 626, &c. See 
also his Life of Laud, p. 147. 



bishop was assisted in this service by the 
bishops of London and Bangor, and by some^ 
others. After receiving the pubHc approba- 
tion of these dignitaries, the Articles were 
sent to the Archbishop of York, and the Bish- 
op of Rochester, who also subscribed them. 
Thus ratified, Archbishop Whitgift sent them 
to the University of Cambridge, with a letter, 
in which he declared — " That these Articles 
were not to be considered as laws and de- 
crees, but as propositions, which he and his 
brethren were persuaded were true, and cor- 
responding with the doctrine professed in 
the Church of England, and established by 
the laws of the land." Nor is this all: it 
having been suggested by some, that the 
Archbishop agreed to these Articles rather 
for the sake of peace, than because he be- 
lieved them, Strype, his Episcopal biogra- 
pher, repels the charge with indignation, de- 
claring that such an insinuation is as false 
as it is mean and disparaging to the pri- 

Not long after the delegates to the Synod 
of Dort, from the Church of England, return- 
ed home, they were attacked by certain wri- 

* Strype's Life of Whitgift, p. 461—463. 


ters, who reproached them for having sign- 
ed the Articles of the Synod, and charged 
them with having, by that act, given coun- 
tenance to error, and also with having de- 
parted from the Articles of their own Church. 
Against this attack they thought proper to 
defend themselves, by what they called a 
joint attestation, which contains the follow- 
ing passage: " Whatsoever there was assent- 
ed unto, and subscribed by us, concerning 
the five Articles, either in the joint Synodi- 
cal judgment, or in our particular collegiate 
suffrage, is not only warrantable by the holy 
Scriptures, but also conformable to the re- 
ceived doctrine of our said venerable mo- 
ther, which we are ready to maintain and 
justify against all gainsayers." 

Again, Bishop Hall, before mentioned as 
one of the delegates, in a work of his own, 
addressed to some who had charged him, 
and some other bishops of his day, with en- 
tertaining Arminian sentiments as to the doc- 
trine of election, thus indignantly replies to 
the charge : " You add, ' election upon faith 
foreseen.' What! nothing but gross un- 
truths? Is this the doctrine of the bishops of 
England ? Have they not strongly confuted 


it, in Papists and Arminians? Have they 
not cried it down to the lowest pit of hell?"* 

The same pious prelate himself tells us, 
that after his return from the Synod of Dort, 
where he had been, as we have seen, an ad- 
vocate of Calvinistic doctrine, and a warm 
and open opponent of Arminianism, he was 
distressed to find that heresy gaining ground 
in England. " Not many years," says he, 
" after settling at home, it grieved my soul 
to see our own Church begin to sicken of 
the same disease, which we had endeavour- 
ed to cure in our neighbours."! 

That the thirty-nine Articles of the Church 
of England are Calvinistic, has been so often 
asserted and demonstrated, that a new at- 
tempt to establish the fact is certainly un- 
necessary. The seventeenth Article in par- 
ticular bears ample testimony to this fact. I 
am aware, indeed, that it has been alleged, 
that the qualifying clause, toward the end of 
the Article, shows that the framers of it 
meant to reject Calvinism. Now it so hap- 

* Defence of the Humble Remonstrance. Works, vol. 
iii. p. 246. 

\ Some Specialties of the Life of Joseph Hall, Bishop 
of Norwicii, written by himself, prefixed to the third vo, 
lume of his works. 


pens that the very qualifying clause in ques- 
tion, is nearly copied from Calvin's Insti- 
tutes, and the latter part of that clause is a 
literal translation of that Reformer's caution 
against the abuse of this doctrine. For evi- 
dence of the former, see his Institutes III. 
21, 4, 5, compared with the Article, where 
every idea contained in that part of the Ar- 
ticle will be found recited. For proof of the 
latter, read the following: ^^ Proinde, i7i re- 
bus agendis, ea est nobis perspicienda Dei 
voluntas quam verbo suo declarat.^' Instit. 
I. 17, 5. " Furthermore, in our doings, that 
will of God is to be followed, which we 
have expressly declared to us in the word of 
God." Art. 17th.* 

A correspondent of the Christian Obser- 
ver, a clergyman of the established Church 
of England, in speaking of the disposition of 
many in his own church, to vilify the name 
and opinions of Calvin, makes the following 
remarks : 

" Few names stand higher, or in more de- 
served pre-eminence, among the wise and 

* For this reference, to show that the 17th Article is 
not to be interpreted as opposed to Calvinism, see Chris- 
tian Observer, of London, vol. iii. p. 438. 


pious members of the Eoglish Church, than 
that of Bishop Andrews. His testimony to 
the memory of Calvin is, that he was, ' an** 
ilhistrious person, and never to be mention- 
ed without a preface of the highest honour.' 
Whoever examines into the sermons, wri- 
tings, &c. of our divines in the reign of Eliza- 
beth, and James I., will continually meet 
with epithets of honour with which his name 
is mentioned; the learned, the wise, the judi- 
cious, the pious Calvin, are expressions every 
where to be found in the remains of those 
times. It is well known that his Institutes 
were read and studied in the universities, by 
every student in divinity; nay, that, by a 
convocation held at Oxford, that book was 
recommended to the general study of the 
nation. So far was the Church of England, 
and her chief divines, from countenancing 
that unbecoming and absurd treatment with 
which the name of this eminent Protestant 
is now so frequently dishonoured, that it 
would be no difficult matter to prove, that 
there is not, perhaps, a parallel instance 
upon record, of any single individual being 
equally, and so unequivocally venerated, for 
the union of wisdom and piety, both in Eng- 
land and by a large body of the foreign 


churches, as John Calvin. Nothing but igno- 
rance of the ecclesiastical records of those 
times, or resolute prejudice, could cast a 
cloak of concealment over this fact. It has 
been evidenced by the combined testimony 
both of enemies and friends to his system of 

S. M. 

Princeton, May, 1841. 

* Christian Observer, vol.ii. p. 143, 


The manner in which the author was brought 
to the determination, of adding the present 
work to all his former publications, will ap- 
pear more fully in the introduction to the 
articles of the Synod of Dordrecht, or Dort. 
In general, he had erroneously adopted, and 
aided in circulating, a gross misrepresenta- 
tion of the Synod and its decisions, in his 
"Remarks on the Refutation of Calvinism;" 
and, having discovered his mistake pre- 
viously to the publication of a second edition 
of that work, he was induced to do what he 
could, to counteract that misrepresentation, 
and to vindicate the Synod from the atro- 
cious calumnies, with which it has been wil- 
fully or inadvertently traduced. But other 
motives concurred in disjiosing him, to giv- 
ing his attempt its present form and order. 

1. A very interesting and important part 
of ecclesiastical history has been obscured 
and overwhelmed in unmerited disgrace, by 
the misrepresentations given of this Synod 
and its articles, especially in this nation; in 
which very few, even among studious men, 
know accurately the circumstances which 
led to the convening of this Synod, and the 
real nature and import of its decisions. To 


excite therefore others, more conversant in 
these studies, and better qualified for the 
service, to examine this part of ecclesiastical 
history, and to do impartial justice to it^ is 
one object which the author has in view. 

2. He purposes to prove, that the doctrines 
commonly termed Calvinistic, whether they 
be or be not the doctrines of Scriptural Chris- 
tianity, may yet be so stated and explained, 
without any skilful or laboured efforts, as to 
coincide with the strictest practical views of 
our holy religion: and so as greatly to en- 
courage and promote genuine holiness, con- 
sidered in its most expanded nature, and in 
its effects on all our tempers, affections, 
words, and actions, in relation to God and to 
all mankind, 

3. In a day when these doctrines are not 
only proscribed in a most hostile manner on 
one side, but deplorably misunderstood and 
perverted by many on the other side; the 
author desired to add one more testimony 
against these misapprehensions and perver- 
sions, by showing in what a holy, guarded, 
and reverential maimer, the divines of this 
reprobated Synod, stated and explained these 
doctrines; compared with the superficial, in- 
cautious, and often unholy and presumptu- 
ous manner of too many in the present day. 
And if any individual, or a few individuals, 
should by this publication, be induced to 
employ superior talents and advantages, in 
counteractino: these unscriptural and perni- 
cious statements, his labour will be amply 



4, The author desired to make it mani- 
fest, that the deviations from the creeds Qjf 
the reformed churches, in those points which 
are more properly called Calvinistic, are sel- 
dom, for any length of time, kept separate 
from deviations in those doctrines which are 
more generally allowed to be essential to 
vital Christianity. It must, indeed, appear 
from the history with which the work be- 
gins, that the progress is easy and almost 
unavoidable, from the controversial opposi- 
tion to personal election, to the explaining 
away of original sin, regeneration by the 
Holy Spirit, justification by faith alone, and 
even of the atonement and deity of Christ: 
and that the opponents of the Synod of Dort, 
and the Remonstrants in general, were far 
more favourable to Pelagians, nay, to Soci- 
nians, than to Calvinists; and were almost 
universally unsound, in what are commonly 
called orthodox doctrines, and many of them 
far from conscientious in their conduct. In- 
deed, it will appear undeniable, that the op- 
position made to them by the Contra-Re- 
monstrants, was much more decidedly on 
these groimds than because they opposed the 
doctrine of personal election, and the final 
perseverance of true believers as connected 
with it. 

5. The author purposed also, by means 
of this publication, to leave behind him, in 
print, his deliberate judgment on several con- 
troverted points, which must otherwise have 
died with him, or have been published sepa- 
rately, for which he had no inclination. But 


he has here grafted them as notes or remarks 
on the several parts of this work; and he 
trusts he has now done with all controversy. 

It is doubtless vain to attempt any thing, 
against many of those opponents who suc- 
ceed to each other, with sufficient variety, 
as to the grounds on which they take their 
stand, and from which they make the as- 
sault; but in some respects nearly in the 
same course of misapprehension, or misre- 
presentation, as to the real sentiments of 
those whom they undertake to refute. It 
suffices to say of them, " Neither can they 
prove the things of which they accuse us :" 
and to say to them, " Thou shalt not bear 
false witness against thy neighbour." But 
indeed Calvinists seem to be no more consi- 
dered as neighhou7's by many Anti-Calvin- 
ists, than the Publicans, Samaritans, and 
Gentiles, were by the Scribes and Pharisees! 

After all that has been published on these 
subjects, the groundless charges brought by 
many against the whole body, cannot be 
considered as excusable misapprehension. 
They must be either intentional misrepre- 
sentation, or the inexcusable presumption of 
writing on subjects which the writers have 
never studied, and against persons, and des- 
criptions of persons, of whose tenets, amidst 
most abundant means of information, they 
remain wilfully ignorant. A fair and im- 
partial opponent is entitled to respect, but I 
can on\y J) il 7/ such controversialists. 


Aston Sanford, March 15, 1818. 







In perusing this preface, and the history con- 
tained in it. the reader should especially re- 
collect, that it was drawn up and published 
by the authority and with the sanction of the 
States General, and the Prince of Orange, as 
well as by that of the Synod itself; and that, 
in every part of it, the acts, or public records 
in which the events recorded were registered, 
are referred to, with the exact dates of each 
transaction. No history can therefore be 
attested as authentic, in a more satisfactory 
and unexceptionable manner: for, whatever 
degree of colouring, prejudices or partiality 
may be supposed to have given to the narra- 



tion; it can hardly be conceived, that collec- 
tive bodies, and individuals filling up such 
conspicuous and exalted stations, would ex- 
pressly attest any thing directly false; and 
then appeal to authorities, by which the 
falsehood of their statement might at any 
time be detected and exposed. It should 
also be remembered, that prejudices and par- 
tiality would be as likely to colour the ac- 
count given to the world, and transmitted to 
posterity by the opposite party; while the 
very circumstances, in which they were 
placed, would render it impracticable for 
them to substantiate the authenticity of their 
narrative in the same manner. Yet, contrary 
to all rules of a sober and unbiassed judg- 
ment, the unauthenticated histories of the 
Remonstrants "^ concerning the Synod of Dort 
have, almost exclusively, been noticed and 
credited by posterity, especially in this coun- 
try, to the neglect of the authentic records.! 

* So called from a Remonstrance presented by tliem to 
the States of Holland and West Fricsland, against the doc- 
trines of their opponents, or those of tlie Federated churches 
of Bclg-ium. 

t Neither Mosheim, nor his translator Maclaine, men- 
tion this history, while they refer to a variety of authori- 
ties on both sides of the question, in their narrative of these 
transactions. So that it is even probable that they had 
never seen it. Whether the severe measures by which 
the decisions of this Synod were followed up; and espe- 


In giving the translation of this history I 
. would merely say, Audi alteram partem.^ 
" Do not read ihe authenticated narration 
with greater suspicions of unfairness than 
you do those, which are not so fully authen- 
ticated. Let not your approbation of what 
you suppose to have been the doctrine of the 
Remonstrants, or your aversion to that of 
the Contra-Remonstrants, bias your mind in 
this respect; but judge impartially." One 
of these histories was drawn up by a man, 
(Heylin.) who has been fnlly detected of 
misrepresenting the very articles of the Sy- 
nod, in the grossest manner; and has thus 
misled great numbers to mistake entirely the 
real import and nature of the decision made 
by it. I appeal to the abbreviation, as it is 
called, of the Articles of the Synod of Dort, 
as compared with the real Articles them- 
selves, in another part of this publication. 
So scandalous a misrepresentation, which has 
been too implicitly adopted by many others, 
should render the impartial reader cautious 
in giving implicit credit to other statements 

cially the strict prohibition of printing' or vending any 
other account, in Latin, Dutch, or French, in the Fede- 
rated provinces, during- seven years, witliout a special 
licence for that purpose, did not eventually conduce to 
this, may be a question. The measure, however, was im- 
politic, if not unjustifiable. 


made by the same party, however celebrated 
the names of some of them may be. 

When I first entered on this part of my 
undertaking, I purposed merely to give a 
short abstract of the history, just enough to 
render the subsequent part of the work in- 
telligible to the less learned or studious 
reader: but, whether it were the result of 
partiality, or of unbiassed judgment, I found 
myself so deeply interested in the events re- 
corded, (which were almost entirely new to 
me,) that my reluctance to translating and 
transcribing the whole was overcome: and, 
(with a few remarks on different parts) I 
determined to give it entire to the English 
reader. As far as I am competent to judge, 
it possesses every internal evidence of au- 
thenticity and fairness: a.Xidi o{ impartiality , 
as far as even pious men, exactly circum- 
stanced as the writers were, in the present 
imperfect state of human nature, can be ex- 
pected to be impartial. It is, I think, also 
drawn up, with a degree of calmness and 
moderation; far different from that fierce 
and fiery zeal, which is generally supposed 
to belong to all, who profess, or are suspect- 
ed, of what many in a very vague and in- 
appropriate manner call, Calvinism. And 


though according to the fashion of those 
times, epithets are in some instances applied 
both to men and opinions, which modern 
courtesy, nay, perhaps Christian meekness, 
would have suppressed; yet, if I mistake 
not, they are more sparingly employed in 
this, than in any contemporary controversial 
publication. Indeed the higher points of 
Avhat is called Calvinism, are far less insisted 
on, and the opponents of those points far 
more moderately censured, than might have 
been expected; while the doctrines common- 
ly called orthodox, as opposed by Pelagians, 
Arians, and Socinians, are strongly main- 
tained, and the opposers of them strenuous- 
ly, nay, severely, condemned. Even Mo- 
sheim allows, that the triumph of the Synod 
was that of the Sublapsarians, not only over 
the Arminians, but over the Supralapsarians 

In order to the impartial reading of this 
history, it should be previously recollected, 
and well considered, that all the Belgic 
churches were, from the first, Presbyterian, 
in government and discipline; and consti- 
tuted according to that plan, with Consistories, 

* Mosheim's Eccjesiastical History, vol. v. p. 368. 



Classes, provincial Synods, and general Sy- 
nods of all the Federated provinces; and 
with all those rules and methods for admis- 
sion into the ministry, and to the pastoral 
charge in distinct congregations; as also to 
situations in Universities and schools of learn- 
ing, which form a constituent part of it ; as 
well as of that strict discipline, connected with 
it, implying not only excommunication of lay- 
members, but the suspension, or silencing of 
pastors; and excluding from their office, aca- 
demical teachers and professors on account 
of heresy in doctrine, and gross inconsistency 
of conduct, proved against them in their 
Classes, or Synods. Through the whole 
history, it appears, that no other form of go- 
vernment was proposed even by the Remon- 
strants; nor any thing mentioned about tole- 
ration in that respect; though their mea- 
sures evidently tended to subvert the whole 
system. All the funds likewise, reserved for 
religious purposes, were appropriated en- 
tirely in consistency with the Presbyterian 
model; and all academical honours and dis- 
tinctions were conferred in that line. 

This, beyond doubt, having been the case; 
and the principal persons concerned in the 
controversy against the Remonstrants, hav- 

TO THE History, .ETC. 89 

ing been zealously, and (most of them at 
least) conscientiously attached to this sys- 
tem; so that it appeared to them, as if the 
very interest of vital religion was intimately, 
if not inseparably, connected with it: he 
must, I say, be a most unreasonable, and 
partial Anti-presbyterian, who can expect 
from men of this stamp, that they would 
permit their whole system, and all its opera- 
tions, to be retarded, disturbed, nay, totally 
deranged and subverted, and the whole state 
of their churches thrown into confusion and 
anarchy, without vigorous struggles to pre- 
vent a catastrophe, iti their view so deplora- 
ble and ruinous. Even in this age and land 
few persons, of supposed candour and libe- 
rality of mind, either among zealous Epis- 
copalians, or Independents, seem inclined 
tamely to witness the subversion of their 
favourite system, without employing the 
most etfectual means of preventing it, which 
are fairly within their reach. Indeed it is 
not in human nature, and cannot reasonably 
be expected. Nor, till men are convinced, 
that it is not the cause of God, nor essential 
to that of true religion, would it be right thus 
to yield it up to theii opponents. But when 
measures of this nature are adopted, at first 


simply in self-defence, against aggressors, in 
order to preserve advantages, already pos- 
sessed by law and custom; it must also be 
expected, that, in the eagerness of a violent 
and protracted contest, even conscientious 
men, will, through remaining prejudices and 
evil passions, excited and irritated by what 
they judge injurious usage, be betrayed into 
some unjustifiable measures, of which their 
opponents will make great advantage, and 
which even impartial spectators cannot jus- 
tify or excuse. If then this should appear to 
have been the case in the Belgic contest, with 
the opposers of the Remonstrants; as well as 
with the Remonstrants themselves; it ought 
neither to excite our surprise, nor prejudice 
us so deeply against the whole company, as, 
on account of it, to involve them in one 
sweeping sentence of condemnation. 

Again, it is well known, at least it is capa- 
ble of the most complete proof, in respect of 
the doctrines controverted during this period 
in Belgium; that the Confession and Cate- 
chism of the Belgic churches, were entirely 
on the side of the Contra-Remonstrants. 
Their appeal is constantly made to those ar- 
ticles; not under the disadvantage, in which 
some of us in England appeal to tiie articles 


of our established church, while our oppo- 
nents, with a degree of plausibility interpret 
them in a different meaning; but, as to the 
very documents, to which the Remonstrants 
objected, nay, which they vehemently and 
openly opposed, both in their sermons and 
public writings. So that their concessions 
and requisitions, in this respect, put the mat- 
ter beyond all denial or doubt, to him that 
has carefully examined the history. This 
will fully appear as we proceed. Now he 
must be a most unreasonable and unfair ad- 
vocate for the Remonstrants; who would 
require decided and conscientious Contra- 
Remonstrants, holding responsible stations 
in the Belgic churches, universities, and 
schools, by virtue of their subscription to this 
Confession and Catechism, to suffer without 
any effort to the contrary, those documents 
to be opposed, proscribed and vilified; and 
contrary doctrines promulgated, even by per- 
sons, who generally held their situations in 
the same manner: while the opposers of the 
established doctrines indefatigably laboured 
and employed all their intiuence with those 
in authority, to set them aside and introduce 
the contrary doctrines; and this by the au- 
thority of the civil governments alone, to the 


exclusion of that ecclesiastical power, by 
which they in great measure had been sup- 
ported. Such a passive acquiescence would 
not, I apprehend, be found at this day, if 
eager opponents should put the matter to the 
trial, either among decided Episcopalians, or 
Lutherans, or any others, who are cordially 
attached to their own views of Christianity. 
How far the defenders of the Belgic Confes- 
sion and Catechism used, exclusively, " wea- 
pons of warfare not carnal, but mighty 
through God," is another question. It can 
scarcely be doubted, but there were faults 
on both sides, in the vehement contest; but 
I cannot think in an equal degree. Let the 
candid inquirer read and judge for himself. 

In translating this history, and the other 
documents which I now lay before the pub- 
lic, I make no pretensions to any thing be- 
yond fairness and exactness, in giving the 
meaning of the original. Had I been dis- 
posed to aim at it, I do not think myself 
competent to the office of translating in such 
a manner, as to invest the Latin, fairly and 
fully, with the entire idiom of the English 
language: but I have even by design, con- 
fined myself more closely to literal transla- 
tion, than I should have done, in an attempt 


less connected with controversy: and have 
often decUned giving a more approved Eng- 
lish word or expression; when I feared, it 
might be suspected of not exactly conveying 
the sense of the original. Indeed, as far as 
it could be made consistent with perspicuity, 
I have rather preserved than shunned the 
Latin idiom, where any doubt could remain 
as to the idea, which the writers intended to 
convey. And, when after all, I had any 
apprehension that I had not fully accom- 
plished this, I have given in a parenthesis, 
the Latin word, that the reader may judge 
for himself. In other places, a parenthesis 
often contains a word not found in the Latin, 
but useful in elucidating the meaning. My 
sole desire has been, to render the whole 
clearly understood by the Etiglish reader; 
and to call the attention of pious and reflect- 
ing persons to a part of Ecclesiastical histo- 
ry, which I am confident has been generally 
less known, and more grossly misrepresented 
by some, and mistaken by others, than any 
other part whatever has been: but which, I 
am also persuaded, is peculiarly replete with 
important useful instruction; especially to 
zealous Calvinists, who may here learn in 
what a guarded, and holy, and practical 


manner, these generall}'- reprobated theolo- 
gians, stated and defended their tenets; and 
on what grounds, exclusively scriptural, they 
rested them. 


In the course of the last summer, the deci- 
sion of the venerable Synod, lately held at 
Dordrecht (or Dort) concerning some heads of 
doctrine, which had hitherto been disputed 
in the Belgic churches, with the greatest dis- 
turbance of the same, was published, having 
been comprised in certain distinct canons. 
And as this most celebrated Synod had been 
called together, by the Illustrious and most 
mighty the States General, the supreme ma- 
gistracy of the federated provinces, especially 
for the removal of the controversies, which 
had arisen in religion, the most of them 
judged that it would be sufficient, if merely 
the determination of the Synod, concerning 
these same controversies were published. 
But when it afterwards was evident, that 
there were very many, who greatly desired 
further to know, from the very acts of the 
Synod, what besides these things, had been 
done in the Synod, and by what method, es- 

preced'^ng events. 95 

pecially with the Remonstrant pastors: and 
when it was not doubtful, but that they ^ 
themselves, in order to veil their own perti- 
nacity, were about to publish some things 
concerning these matters, not with the best 
fidelity, it pleased the Illustrious and most 
mighty the States General, that the acts also 
of the same Synod, faithfully transcribed 
from the public registers {tabulis) should be 
published in print, for the satisfaction {in 
gratiam) and use of the churches. And as 
in these (records) many things every where 
occur, which pertain to the history of the 
things transacted in the Belgic churches, and 
which could less advantageously be under- 
stood or judged of, by readers who were 
ignorant of these things: for which cause 
even the national Synod, (as it may be seen 
in the different sessions,) sometimes enjoin- 
ed, especially on the deputies of the South 
Holland churches, to write a brief narrative 
of the affairs transacted with the Remon- 
strants: it seemed good to prefix, in the 
place of a preface, from it, (that history) 
some things, which were publicly transacted; 
that the foreign churches especially, might 
for once know with good fidelity, what was 
the rise and progress of these controversies; 


and on what occasion, and for what causes, 
the Ilhistrious and most mighty the States 
General convened this most celebrated Sy- 
nod, at a very great expense;* especially, 
when many things are related by the Re- 
monstrants, in writings exhibited, and here 
inserted, which less accord with the truth of 
the things transacted. 

In the Reformed churches of Federated 
Belgium, how great an agreement had, in 
the preceding age, flourished, on all the 
heads of orthodox doctrine, among the pas- 
tors and doctors, of the Belgic churches; 
and moreover how great order and decorum 
{£ii7a|ta and svsx'>iiJi'Oavvrj) had always been 
preserved in the government of the same, is 
too well known to the Christian world, for it 
to be needful to set it forth in many words. 
This peace and harmony of the Belgic 

* "After long and tedious debates, which were fre- 
quently attended with popular tumults and civil broils, 
this intricate controversy was, by the counsels and au- 
thority of Maurice, prince of (Grange, referred to the deci- 
sion of the ciiurcii, assembled in a g'cneral Synod at Dor- 
dreclit, in the year 1G18." {Mosheim) — " It was not by the 
authority of prince Maurice, but by that of the States 
General, tliat the national S^'nod was assembled at Dor- 
drecht. The States were not indeed unanimous; three of 
the seven provinces ]>rotestcd against the holding of this 
Synod, viz. Holland, Utrecht, and Overyssel." {Mactaine.) 
Mosheim's History, vol. v. p. 367. 

preced'^ng events. 97 

churches, lovely (in itself,) and most pleas- 
ing to God and all pious men, certain persons , 
had attempted to disturb, with unbridled 
violence, but not with great success: (per- 
sons) who having deserted Popery, but not 
being yet fully purified from its leaven, had 
passed over into our churches, and had been 
admitted into the ministry in the same, du- 
ring that first scarcity of ministers: (namely) 
Caspius Coolhasius, of Leyda, Herman Her- 
bertius, of Dordrecht, and Gouda, and Cor- 
nelius Wiggerus, of Horn. For in the same 
places, in which they had got some persons 
too little favouring the reformed religion, 
on whose patronage they relied: this their 
wicked audacity was maturely repressed, as 
well by the authority of the supreme magis- 
tracy, as by the prudence of the pastors, and 
the just censures of the church: that of Cool- 
hasius, in the national Synod at Middleburg; 
that of Herbertius, in the Synods of South 
Holland; and that of Wiggerus, in the Sy- 
nods of North Holland. 

Afterwards James Arminius, pastor of the 
most celebrated church at Amsterdam, at- 
tempted the same thing, with great boldness 
and enterprise; a man indeed of a more 
vigorous genius, [excitatioris,) but whom 


nothing pleased except that which com- 
mended itself by some show of novelty; so 
that he seemed to disdain most things re- 
ceived in the Reformed churches, even on 
that very account, that they had been re- 
ceived. He first paved the way for himself 
to this thing, by publicly and privately ex- 
tenuating, and vehemently attacking {siigil- 
landd) the reputation and authority of the 
most illustrious doctors of the reformed 
church, Calvin, Zanchius, Beza, Martyr, 
and others; that by the ruin of their name, 
he might raise a step to glory for himself. 
Afterwards he began openly to propose and 
disseminate various heterodox opinions, near- 
ly related to the errors of the ancient Pela- 
gians, especially in an explanation of the 
epistle to the Romans: but by the vigilance 
and authority of the venerable Consistory of 
that church, his attempts were speedily op- 
posed, lest he should be able to cause those 
disturbances in the church, which he seemed 
to project {moliri.) Yet he did not cease 
among his own friends, as well as among 
the pastors of other churches, John Utenbo- 
gardus, Adrian, Borrius, and others, whose 
friendship the same common studies had 
conciliated, to propagate his opinions, by 


whatever means he could ; and to challenge 
Francis Junius, the most celebrated profes- 
sor of sacred theology at Leyden, to a con- 
ference concerning the^ame.* 

But when in the second year of this age, 
(Aug. 28, 1602,) that most renowned man 
D. Junius had been snatched away from the 
University of Leyden, with the greatest sor- 
row of the Belgic churches, Utenbogardus, 
who then favoured the opinion of Arminius, 
with great earnestness commended him to 
the most noble and ample the Curators of 
the University of Leyden, that he indeed 
might be appointed in the place of D. Junius 
in the professorship of sacred theology in 
that University. When the deputies of the 
churches understood this, fearing lest the vo- 
cation of a man so very much suspected of 
heterodoxy, might sometime give cause of 
contentions and schisms in the churches; 
they entreated the most noble lords the Cura- 
tors, that they would not expose the churches 
to those perils, but rather would think of 
appointing another proper person, who was 

* " The bistre and authority of the college of Geneva 
began gradually to decline, from the time that the United 
Provinces, being formed into a free and independent re- 
public, Universities were founded at Leyden, Franchcr 
and Utrecht." — Mosheiin, vol. v. p. 365. 


free from this suspicion. And they also ad- 
monished Utenbogardus to desist from this 
recommendation; who, despising these ad- 
monitions, did not desist from urging his 
(Arminius's) vocation, until at length he had 
attained the same. 

His vocation having been thus appointed, 
the Classis of Amsterdam refused to consent 
to his dismission ; especially for this reason, 
because the more prudent thought that a dis- 
position so greatly luxuriant, and prone to in- 
novation would be statedly employed, with 
more evident danger in an University, at 
which youth consecrated to the ministry of 
the churches are educated, and where greater 
liberty of teaching uses to be taken, than in 
any particular church in which it may be 
restrained within bounds, by the vigilance 
and authority of the presbytery. His dis- 
mission was notwithstanding obtained, by 
the frequent petitions of the lords the Cura- 
tors, of Utenbogardus, and even of Arminius 
himself, yet upon this condition, that a con- 
ference having been first held with Dr. Fran- 
cis Gomarus, concerning the principal heads 
of doctrine, he should remove from himself 
all suspicion of heterodoxy, by an explicit 
{rotunda) declaration of his opinion; when 


he had first promised, with a solemn attesta- 
tion, that he would never disseminate his 
opinions, if perhaps he had any singular 
ones.* This conference was held before the 
lords the Curators, the deputies of the Synod 
also being present; in which, when he (Ar- 
minius) professed, that he unreservedly [di- 
serte) condemned the principal dogmas of 
the Pelagians concerning natural grace; the 
powers of free will, original sin, the per- 
fection of man in this life, predestination, 
and the others; that he approved all things, 
which Augustine and the other fathers had 
written against the Pelagians; and moreover,' 
that he judged the Pelagian errors had been 
rightly refuted and condemned by the fa- 
thers; and at the same time promised, that 
he would teach nothing which differed from 
the received doctrine of the churches, he was 
admitted to the professorship of theology.t 

* How far lie fulfilled this solemn promise and attesta- 
tion, not only the following- history, but even the histories 
of his most decided advocates, fully show. In fact, he 
fulfilled it in the very same manner, that the subscriptions 
and most solemn engagements of numbers in our church 
at their ordination are fulfilled. 

t The received doctrine of the churches was contained 
in the Belgic Confession and Catechism. Let the reader 
carefully attend to this, and bear it in mind while he pe- 
ruses the subsequent narrative. 



May 6, 7. 1602.] In the beginning of this, 
he endeavoured by every means to avert 
from himself every suspicion of heterodoxy; 
so that he defended by his support and pa- 
tronage in pubHc disputations, [October 28,] 
the doctrine of the reformed churches, con- 
cerning the satisfaction of Christ, justifying 
faith, justification by faith, the perseverance 
of those who truly believe, the certitude of 
salvation, the imperfection of man in this 
life, and the other heads of doctrine, which 
he afterwards contradicted, and which at 
this day are opposed by his disciples. (This 
he did) contrary to his own opinion, as John 
Arnoldi Corvinus, in a certain Dutch writing 
ingenuously confesses. 

But when he had been now engaged in 
this employment as professor, a year or two, 
it was detected, that he publicly and privately 
attacked {sugillare) most of the dogmas re- 
ceived in the reformed churches, called them 
into doubt, and rendered them suspected to 
his scholars: and that he enervated the prin- 
cipal arguments, by which they used to be 
maintained from the word of God, by the 
same exceptions, which the Jesuits, the So- 
cinians, and other enemies of the reformed 

PKECElfllN'G EVENTS. 10t3 

church were accustomed to emply:* that he 
gave some of his own manuscript tracts pri-, 
vately to his scholars to be transcribed, in 
which he had comprised liis own opinion: 
that he recommended in an especial manner 
to his scholars, the writings of Castalio, Corn- 
hertius, Suerezius, and of men like them : 
and that he spake contemptuously of Cal- 
vin, Beza, Martyr, Zanchius, Ursinus, and 
of other eminent doctors of the reformed 
churches.t He moreover openly professed, 
that he liad very many considerations or ani- 
madversions, against the received doctrine, 
which he would lay open in his own time. 
Some pastors, who were intimately acquaint- 
ed whh him, gloried, that they possessed an 
entirely new theology. His scholars, hav- 
ing returned home from the University, or 
liaving been removed to other Universities, 
petulantly {proterve) insulted the reformed 

* The reformed church included, not only tlie church 
of Geneva, but the cluirches in Switzerland, France, Hol- 
land, England, and Scotland, and others. The doctrines 
opposed were then not those of Calvin or of Geneva in 
particular, but common to all these churches. — T. S. 

t This is the only way, in which Calvin is ever men- 
tioned in tlie whole of this hi.story, as along with many 
others, an eminent doctor of the reformed churches; for 
it was not then supposed, that there was any essential 
difference between the doctrine of the church at Geneva, 
and that of the other reformed churches. 


churches, by disputing, contradicting, and re- 
viling their doctrine. 

When the churches of Holland considered 
these and other things, being justly solicitous, 
lest the purity of the reformed doctrine hav- 
ing been weakened, (or corrupted, labefac- 
tata) and the youth which was educated in 
this seminary, for the hope of the churches, 
imbued with depraved opinions, this matter 
should at length burst forth to the great mis- 
chief and disturbance of the churches: they 
judged that an inquiry should be throughly 
made into the whole transaction, by their 
own deputies, to whom the common care of 
the churches used to be committed; so that 
in the next Synods it might be maturely 
looked to, that the church might not suffer 
any detriment. Concerning this cause the 
deputies of the churches, as well of South, 
as of North Holland, go to Arminius, and 
state to him, the rumours which were every 
where circulated concerning him and his doc- 
trine, and how great solicitude possessed all 
the churches; and, in a friendly manner, they 
request him, that if perhaps he found a want 
of any thing in the received doctrine, he 
would sincerely {sincert^, ingenuously) open 
it to his brethren ; in order, either that satis- 


faction might be given him by a friendly con- 
ference, or the whole affair might be carried 
before a lawful Synod. To these (persons) 
he answered, That he himself had never 
given just cause for these rumours; neither 
did it appear prudent in him to institute any 
conference with the same persons, as depu- 
ties, who would make the report concerning 
the matter unto the Synod : but if they 
would lay aside this character, (personam.) 
he would not decline to confer with them, as 
with private pastors, concerning his doctrine; 
on this condition, that if perhaps they should 
too little agree among themselves, they would 
report nothing of this to the Synod. As the 
deputies judged this to be unjust, and as the 
solicitude could not be taken away from the 
churches by a conference of this kind, they 
departed from him without accomplishing 
their purpose {re infecta.) Nov did they yet 
the less understand, from the other professors 
of sacred theology, that various questions 
were eagerly agitated among the students 
of theology concerning predestination, free 
will, the perseverance of the saints, and other 
heads of doctrine, such as before the coming 
of Arminius had not been agitated among 


July 26, 1605.] He was also admonish- 
ed by the church of Leyden, of which he 
was a member, by the most ample and most 
celebrated men, Phsedo Brouchovius, the 
consul of the city of Leyden, and Paulus 
Merula, professor of history {historiariim, 
histories, ancient and modern,) elders of the 
same church, that he would hold a friendly 
conference with his colleagues, before the 
Consistory of the church of Leyden, concern- 
ing those things which he disapproved in 
the received doctrine; from which it might 
be ascertained, whether, or in what dogmas, 
he agreed, or disagreed, with the rest of the 
pastors. To these (persons) he replied, that 
he could not do that without the leave of the 
Curators of the University; neither could he 
see what advantage would redound to the 
church from such a conference. 

The time approached when the annual 
Synods of the churches in each Holland used 
to be held; and when, according to the cus- 
tom, the grievances {gravamina,) of the 
church were sent from each of the Classes: 
and among the rest this also was transmit- 
ted by the Classis of Dordrecht: "Inasmuch 
as rumours are heard, that certain contro- 
versies concerning the doctrine of the re- 


formed churches, have arisen in the Univer- 
sity and church of Leyden; the Classis hath 
judged it to be necessary, that the Synod 
should dehberate on the means by which 
these controversies may most advantageous- 
ly and speedily be settled; that all schisms, 
and stumbling-blocks, which might thence 
arise, may be removed in time, and the 
union of the reformed churches be preserved 
against the calumnies of the adversaries." 
Arminius bore this very grievously, {spger- 
rime,) and strove with all his power, that 
this grievance should be recalled; which 
when he could not obtain, by the assistance 
of the Curators of the University, he pro- 
cured a testimonial from his colleagues, in 
which it was declared, " That indeed more 
things were disputed among the students, 
than it was agreeable to them: but that 
among the professors of sacred theology 
themselves, as far as it appeared to them, 
there was no dissention in fundamentals." 

A short time after the Synod of the pro- 
vince of South Holland was convened in the 
city of Rotterdam, which, when it had un- 
derstood from the Classis of Dort, the many 
and weighty reasons for which this griev- 
ance had been transmitted by the same, and 


at the same time also from the deputies of 
the Synod, how things really were in the 
University of Leyden, and what had been 
done by Arminius and the other professors 
of sacred theology; after mature deliberation 
it determined, that this spreading evil must 
be counteracted in time, neither ought the 
remedy of it to be procrastinated, under the 
uncertain hope of a national Synod. And, 
accordingly, it enjoined on the deputies of 
the Synod, that they should most diligently 
inquire, concerning articles on which dispu- 
tations were principally held among the stu- 
dents of theology in the University of Ley- 
den; and should petition the lords the Cura- 
tors, that a mandate might be given to the 
professors of sacred theology, to declare open- 
ly and explicitly their opinion concerning the 
same: in order, that by this means it might 
be ascertained respecting their agreement or 
disagreement; and the churches, if perhaps 
there was no dissention, or no grievous one, 
might be freed from solicitude: or, if some 
more weighty one should be detected, they 
might think maturely concerning a remedy 
of the same. 

The Synod also commanded all the pas- 
tors, for the sake of testifying their consent 


in doctrine, that they should subscribe the 
Confession and Catechism of these churches ; 
which in many Classes had been neglected, 
and by others refused.* The deputies of the 
Synod, having diligently examined the mat- 
ter, exhibited to the lords the curators nine 
questions, concerning which they had under- 
stood, that at this time disputations were 
principally maintained: and they requested, 
that it might be enjoined by their authority 
on the professors of sacred theology, to ex- 
plain fully their opinion concerning the same. 
But they answered. That some hope now 
shone forth of obtaining a national Synod in 

* " The opinions of Calvin, concerning the decrees of 
God, and divine grace, became daily more general, and 
were gradually introduced every where into the schools 
of learning. There was not, however, any public law, or 
confession of faith, that obliged the pastors of the reform- 
ed churches in any part of the world, to conform their 
sentiments to the tiieological doctrines that were adopted 
and tnug-Jit at Geneva." — iVIosheim, vol. v. p. 3G6. This 
introduces the learned historian's account of the Synod of 
Dort : but the Confession and Catechism of the Bclgic 
churches alone were appealed to in this contest, and they 
were certainly obligatory on all the pastors of those 
churches, and subscribed to by most of them. Again : 
" Arminius knew, that the Dutch Divines, were neither 
obliged by their confession of faith, nor by any other pub- 
lic law, to adopt and propagate the opinions of Calvin." 
Vol. V. p. 41. Now Arminius was not accused, as the 
whole history shows, of deviatmg from the opinions of 
Calvin, but for openly opposing tJae Confession and Cate- 
chism of the Belgic Churches. 

110 H IS T OR Y OF 

a short time; and therefore they judged it 
more prudent [consultius) to reserve these 
questions to the same, than by any farther 
inquisition respecting them to give a handle 
to dissention. The pastors also, who had 
embraced the opinion of Arminius, every 
where in the Classes refused to obey the 
mandate of the Synod, concerning the sub- 
scription of the Confession and the Cate- 

This matter increased the solicitude of the 
churches, when they saw that these pastors,, 
relying on the favour of certain persons, evi- 
dently despised the authority of the Synod, 
and more boldly {aridacius) persisted in 
their attempt. Wherefore, as in that way a 
remedy could not be applied to this evil, they 
copiously explained to the most illifstrious 
and mighty lords the States General, in how 
great a danger the church was placed; and 
petitioned, that in order to the taking away 
of these evils, a national Synod, which had 
now been for many years deferred, might be 
called together by the authority of the same 
persons, at the earliest opportunity. These 
(the States General) declared, that the states 
of all the provinces had already agreed on the 
convocation of a national Synod ; but that 


there were those among them, who, in the let- 
ters of consent, had added this condition, or, ^ 
as they called it, clause: Namely, that in the 
same there should be a revision of the Con- 
fession and Catechism of these churches ; and, 
consequently, the convocation of a national 
Synod could not be made, unless this clause 
were added, without the detriment {prapju- 
dicio) of the States of that province. But, as it 
was not obscurely evident, who for some years 
had counselled {authores fuissent) the Illus- 
trious the States of Holland, that this clause 
should be added, and even pressed; and as it 
might be feared, if should be annexed to the 
calling of the Synod, that they who earnest- 
ly desired changes of doctrine, would abuse 
the same; and at the same time also, lest, 
(especially in this state of things,) it should 
afford no light cause of offence to the 
churches; as if the Illustrious States them- 
selves, or our churches, doubted of the truth 
of the doctrine comprised in this Confession 
and Catechism; the deputies of the churches 
petition that the convocation of the Synod 
should be drawn up in general terms, as 
they call them, in the manner hitherto cus- 
tomary: especially, as this clause seemed the 
less necessary; seeing that in national Synods 


it had always been permitted, if any one 
thought that he had ought against any arti- 
cle of these writings, fairly and duly to pro- 
pose it. 

But the Illustrious lords the States General 
declared, that this clause was not so to be 
understood, as if they desired any thing to 
be changed by it, in the doctrine of these 
churches; for indeed a doctrine was not 
always changed by a revisal, (or recognition, 
recognitione,) but sometimes was even con- 
firmed; yet it could not be omitted without 
the prejudice of that province, which had 
expressly added it. They therefore deli- 
vered the letters of consent, in which this 
also had been added, to the deputies of the 
churches, which they transmitted to the 
churches of each of the provinces; and with 
them they also signified, what pains they had 
bestowed that it might be omitted. 

March 15, 1606.] The Belgic churches, 
on the receipt of these letters, rejoiced indeed, 
that after the expectation of so many years, 
at length the power of holding a national 
Synod had been obtained; though they were 
not a little stumbled by this clause. Not be- 
cause they were unwilling, that the Confes- 
sion and the Catechism should be recognised, 


after the accustomed and due manner, in the 
national Synod: but because they feared, 
lest they, who were labouring for a change 
of doctrine, should be rendered more daring, 
as if by this clause, a power was granted to 
them, by the public authority of the lords 
the States, of moving and innovating what- 
ever any one pleased; and that these dis- 
cords and controversies had arisen from 
them, not from the inordinate desire of inno- 
vating, but from an earnest endeavour of 
satisfying the decrees of the Illustrious the 
States. In the same letters, the Illustrious 
lords the States General gave information, 
that it had been determined by them, to call 
together some learned and peaceful theolo- 
gians, from each of the provinces, that they 
might deliberate with the same, concerning 
the time, place, and manner of holding this 
national Synod. 

August, 1606,] While these things were 
transacting, the Annual Synod of the church- 
es of Holland was held at Gorinchem; in 
which, when the deputies of the churches 
had related, what had been done by them in 
the cause of the National Synod, and what 
had been determined by the Illustrious lords 
the States General, it was judged proper to 


enjoin on the same (deputies) diligently to 
press the convocation of a National Synod; 
and, though the Synod thought, that the 
Confession and Catechism, would be recog- 
nised, in a way and manner, new and unac- 
customed hitherto, in the national Synod, it 
purposed, that those persons, who should be 
called together by the States of Holland, out 
of South Holland, to the convention, in which 
(it was to be deliberated) concerning the time, 
place, and manner of holding the national 
Synod, should be admonished to petition 
from the States General, in the name of these 
churches; that the clause, of which it hath 
before been spoken, might be omitted in the 
letters of convocation, for the reasons before 
assigned; and that, in the place of it, other 
milder words, which might produce less of- 
fence, might be substituted. 

It was also enjoined in the same Synod, to 
all the pastors of the churches of South Hol- 
land, and to all the professors of sacred the- 
ology in the University of Leyden, that, at 
as early a time as could be, they should ex- 
hibit the considerations or animadversions, 
which they had, upon the doctrine contained 
in the Confession and Catechism; (because 
Arminius and the pastors who were attached 


to him were often accustomed to glory, that 
they had very many;) the pastors indeed in 
their own Classes, but the professors to the 
deputies of the churches ; that the same might 
be lawfully carried unto the national Synod, 
if satisfaction could not be given to them in 
the Classes. When this was demanded of 
the pastors attached to Arminius, they de- 
clined proposing them in the Classes; be- 
cause, they said, they were not yet prepared: 
but that they would propose them in their 
own time and manner. Arminius also, hav- 
ing been admonished ccncernnig this thing 
by the deputies of the churches, answered, 
that it could not be done at that time with 
edification; but that, in the national Synod, 
he would fully lay open the same. 

May 23, 1607.] And when not long after, 
the Illustrious the States General called to- 
gether some theologians out of each of the 
provinces, with whom they might deliberate, 
respecting the time, place, and manner of the 
national Synod : namely, John Leo, and 
John Fontanus, from Geldria ; Francis Go- 
marus, James Arminius, John Utenbogar- 
dus, and John Becius, out of South Holland; 
Herman Frankelius, and Henry Brandius, 
out of Zealand; Everard Botius, and Henry 


Johannis, out of the province of Utrecht; Si- 
brander Liibertus, and Jannes Bogermannus, 
out of Friesland ; Thomas Goswinius, out of 
Transisulania; John Acronus, and John Ni- 
casias, out of the city Groningen and Om- 
land; the questions, concerning which it 
should be# dehberated in this convention, 
were proposed to them by the Illustrious the 
States General; and it was declared by their 
concurrent suflrages, that as to the time, it 
was necessary that the Synod should be call- 
ed together as soon as might be, in the be- . 
ginning of the ensuing summer, [a. d. 1608.] 
That, as to place, the city of Utrecht would 
be the most convenient for holding the Sy- 
nod: as to the manner, 1. That the griev- 
ances to be discussed in the Synod, should 
be brought before the national Synod, from 
each of the provincial Synods: 2. That from 
each of the several Synods, and by the suf- 
frages of the same, four pastors and two 
elders should be deputed ; in the place of 
which elders also, men of singular condition, 
and skill in matters of theology, and adorned 
by a testimony of piety, though they did not 
fill up any ecclesiastical office, might be de- 
puted: 3. That to these deputies, power 
should be given in all things, which should 


be treated of in the Synod, not of deliberating 
only, bat also of determining and deciding: 
4. That the rule of judgment, in all the con- 
troversies, relating to doctrines and morals, 
should be the written word of God, or the 
Sacred Scriptures, alone:* 5. That to the na- 
tional Synod, should be called together, not 
only the churches which are in Federated 
Belgium, namely, of each language, the 
Dutch and French; but those also of the 
Belgic nation, which are dispersed without 
Belgium; whether they were collected under 
the cross, or otherwise : {alibi:) 6. That the 
Illustrious and most mighty, the States Ge- 

* This rule completely excluded all human reasoning-, 
authority, tradition, or new revelations, as opposed to the 
written word, " the sure testimony" of God : not only the 
authority of fathers and councils, with the traditions of 
the church of Rome ; but the authority also of the church 
of Geneva, of Calvin, and of all other retbrmed teachers. 
How is it then, that ecclesiastical historians generally re- 
present this contest, as an attempt to impose the doctrine 
of the church of Geneva on the Belgic churches? It 
might as reasonably be said, that the clergymen and others, 
who combined and used every effort, some years since, to 
procure the abolislnnent of-subscrlption to the articles of 
the church of England, but could not succeed, had the 
doctrines of Galvin and Geneva imposed on them. What- 
ever similarity there might be, between the doctrine of 
Calvin or that of thechurcli of Geneva, and the Confession 
and Catechism of the Belgic churches, the latter was ex- 
clusively ai>pcaled to by the other pastors, and avowedly 
opposed by Arminius and his followers : yet even these 
were to be revised according to the written word of God. 



neral, should be requested, that they would 
deign to send to the same their own dele- 
gates, professing the reformed religion, that, 
in their name, they might preside over the 
order of it: 7. That the professors also of 
sacred theology should be called to the 

In these things indeed they were all agreed ; 
as in some others they could not agree among 
themselves. For Arminiiis and Utenbogar- 
dus, and the two (deputies) from Utrecht, 
whom they had drawn over to their opinion, 
determined these three things: 1. That that 
was to be held as the decision of the Synod, 
not which had been determined by the votes 
of all the deputies to the Synod, but also 
by those who deputed them: for, under the 
name of the Synod, not the deputies alone, 
but those who deputed them also, ought to 
be understood: 2. That it should always be 
free to the deputies, as often as they might 
choose, and as they perceived that they were 
burdened in any tiling, to retire to their own 
(friends or constituents) for the sake of taking 
counsel: 3. That the revision of the Belgic 
Confession and Catechism was altogether 
necessary: so that they saw no cause, for 
which the clause concerning the revision of 


those writings, should not be inserted in the 
letters of convocation. 

The rest of the pastors and professors' 
judged: 1. That that should be considered 
as the definitive decision of the Synod, which 
had been determined either by the concur- 
rent votes of the deputies to the Synod, or 
of the majority of them; but that, under the 
name of the Synod, those were to be ac- 
counted, who, as lawful deputies to the same, 
had met together with the power of judging: 
2. That it might indeed be allowed them to 
retire to their friends for the sake of taking 
counsel; yet so, that under this pretext, the 
proceedings of the Synod should not be rash- 
ly disturbed : that when, and in what man- 
ner, and for what causes, they might thus 
recede, should not be left to the unrestricted 
will (arbiirio) of individuals, but to the judg- 
ment of the whole Synod : 3. That the Bel- 
gic Confession and Catechism might indeed 
be revised in the Synod; if, for adequate 
causes, the Synod should determine that this 
was necessary; and likewise that it should 
be free to all, who thought that they had 
any thing against those writings, to propose 
the same to the Synod in due manner, to be 
examined and decided on : but, because the 


clause concerning the revision, if it should 
be inserted in the letters of convocation, 
seemed likely to give to some cause of of- 
fence, and to others the license of innova- 
ting; they thought that the Illustrious the 
States General should be petitioned, that this 
clause, for the sake of the tranquillity of the 
churches, might be omitted in the letters of 
convocation; and that, in the place of it, 
these, or similar words might be substituted; 
namely, That the Synod was convened, for 
the confirmation, agreement, and propaga- 
tion of pure and orthodox doctrine; for pre- 
serving and establishing the peace and good 
order (iv]a^iav) of the church; and finally, 
for promoting true piety among the inhabi- 
tants of these regions. And most of them 
showed, that they had this very thing in the 
mandates from their own churches, and also 
from the States themselves of their own pro- 
vinces. This disagreement of counsels and 
judgments threw in a new delay to the na- 
tional Synod: for they, who had hitherto re- 
sisted its convocation, eagerly seizing on this 
occasion, laboured earnestly by all means, 
that the convocation of the Synod, though 
now promised, might be hindered. 

In this convention Arminius was request- 


ed, with the strongest obtestation, by the 
other professors and pastors, that, the things 
which he had (to allege) against the doc- 
trine expressed in the Confession and Cate- 
chism, he would in a free and brotherly- 
manner communicate to them, as his fellow 
ministers : the promise being added, that 
they would bestow pains fully to satisfy him; 
or that he, on honourable conditions, might 
be reconciled to his colleagues, and might 
thenceforth live peaceably with them; neither 
would they, a reconciliation having been 
effected, publish beyond the place of the con- 
vention, any of those things, which he should 
make manifest unto them. But he said, that 
neither was this thought prudent by him, 
nor was he bound to do it, as the convention 
was not appointed for this purpose. In the 
following summer, when the annual Synod 
of the South Holland churches was held at 
Delph, Utenbogardus was admonished, to 
explain to the Synod, the reasons, on account 
of which, in giving the counsels concerning 
the manner of holding the national Synod, 
he, with Arniinius, had thought and advised 
differently from the rest of the pastors; that 
the same might be well considered and de- 
cided on by the Synod. He answered. That 


he was bound to render an account of this 
to the Illustrious the States alone, and not to 
the Synod. Being requested, that he would 
explain those things, which he had (to al- 
lege) against the doctrine that was con- 
tained in the Confession and Catechism of 
these churches : he replied, that neither did 
it appear to him prudent to do it in that 
assembly, nor was he prepared. It was in 
this Synod also inquired, whether, according 
to the decree of the former Synod, any con- 
siderations, or animadversions upon the Con- 
fession and Catechism had been exhibited to 
the Classes : but it was answered by the 
delegates from each of the Classes, That 
most of the pastors had professed in the 
Classes, that they had no animadversions 
against the received doctrine; but that those, 
who professed that they had some, were un- 
willing to explain them: either because they 
said, that they were not yet prepared, or be- 
cause they did not think that this was advisa- 
ble for them.* Wherefore the Synod judged, 

* Nothing can be more evident tlian this fact, that the 
followers of Arminius aimed to subvert, or excceding-jy to 
modify, tlie doctrine of the autliorized writings of the 
Belgic churches; and that the otiicrs wanted no alteration 
to be made in that doctrine, as more favourable, either to 
the doctrine of the church of Geneva, or of Calvin, as 
many writers confidently assert. 


that it should again be enjoined on them, 
that, omitting all evasions, subterfuges, {ier- 
giversatio7iibus,) and delays, they should 
explain, as early as might be, all the ani- 
madversions which they had against the re- 
ceived doctrine : each of them to his ov^^n 

It was likewise shown to the Synod, that 
every where in the churches, dissensions 
daily more and more increased; and that 
most of the young men coming forth from 
the University of Leyden, and the instruc- 
tion of Arminius, being called to the minis- 
try of the churches, in the examination in- 
deed concealed their opinion by ambiguous 
methods of speaking; but when they had 
been set forth to the ministry, they imme- 
diately moved new disputations, contended 
earnestly for opinions, and gloried that they 
had various considerations against the re- 
ceived doctrine: That in the Classes 'and 
Consistories, sharp dissensions and alterca- 
tions arose among the pastors, concerning 
most of the heads of doctrine; and that, 
among the people also, various disputings 
concerning doctrine were heard, with the 
great offence and disturbance of the churches: 
yea, moreover, that the beginnings of schisms 


were seen: that the pastors attached to Ar- 
minius instituted frequent meetings in which 
they might deUberate concerning the propa- 
gation of their doctrine ; and that the peo- 
ple more and more went away into parties.* 
As therefore the Synod judged that the 
remedy of this evil could no longer be de- 
ferred, and that the hope of obtaining a na- 
tional Synod, because of this diversity of 
counsels and opinions, was altogether uncer- 
tain: it was determined by the Synod, from 
the counsel of the most ample the delegates, 
to petition of the illustrious lords the States 
of Holland and West Friesland, that from 
the two Synods of South and North Holland, 
one provincial Synod might be called at the 
first opportunity, (as it had formerly been 
done in similar difRculties,) in order to quiet 

* The enlightened and decided friend to free inquiry, 
will see even in the causes of these complaints, (while the 
immediate effects may perhaps be deemed very unfavour. 
able to truth and holiness,) the dawn of tliat more en- 
larged state of things, in which free investigation ofbotii 
received, and exploded, and novel opinions, proves ulti- 
mately and highly beneficial to the cause of truth : and he 
will agree, that the arm of authority, secular or ecclesias- 
tical, could not beneficially be cxcrled against it; except 
so far, as to require those who voluntarily belong to, and 
minister in any church, to conform to the rules of that 
church, or to recede from it without further molestation. 
But this does not prevent the propriety of doing justice to 
tlie character of wise and pious men, to whom no views of 
this kind had as yet ever been presented. 


and remove these evils. When the deputies 
of each Synod had copiously explained to 
the Illustrious lords the States these difficul- 
ties of the churches, as growing more and 
more heavy; and had petitioned, that for the 
removal of the same the convocation of a 
provincial Synod might be appointed at the 
most early time: though great hopes had 
been given them, by the most ample the 
lords the delegates, they were not as yet 
able to obtain it; because at that time, [Sept. 
14, 1607,] a beginning had been made of 
settling the terms of a truce with the enemy: 
and the Illustrious States being themselves 
fully occupied with the most weighty affairs 
of the republic, could not have leisure to at- 
tend to these ecclesiastical concerns. 

April 30, 1608.] In the mean time Armi- 
nius, when he sav/ that the churches were 
urgent, that this cause should be determined 
by the legal ecclesiastical judgments: in or- 
der that he might decline that trial, {forum, 
meaning the decision of tJie ecclesiastical 
courts,) having exhibited a suppliant writ- 
ing, {libelhim,) to the Illustrious the States, 
obtained that cognizance should be taken of 
his cause, by the most ample the counsellors 
of the supreme court, heiug political men; 


(not ecclesiastical;) and Gomarus was com- 
manded to liold a conference with Arminius 
before the same, the pastors being present, 
who had lately attended at the preparatory 
convention from South and North Holland, 
when the deputies of the churches had un- 
derstood this, they again requested the Illus- 
trious the States of Holland and West Fries- 
land, that, instead of this conference insti- 
tuted before the supreme court, a provincial 
Synod might b§, called; that in the same, 
cognizance might be taken and judgment . 
given on this, ecclesiastical cause, by eccle- 
siastical meny skilful in these matters, and 
lawfully delegated by the churches with the 
power of awarding judgment. The Illustri- 
ous the States answered, that the cognizance 
of the cause alone had been entrusted to the 
supreme court; but that the decision of it 
would afterwards be committed, either to a 
provincial or to a national Synod. 

In this conference a long dispute occurred 
about the order of proceeding. Arminius 
contended that Gomarus ought to undertake 
the part of an agent, {actoris, pleader, or 
prosecutor, or accuser,) but that he was only 
bound to defend himself: while Gomarus 
judged, that this method of proceeding was 


not less unjust than unusual, especially in an 
ecclesiastical cause, before political judges: 
that he indeed was prepared to bring proof 
before a lawful Synod that Arminius had 
proposed dogmas which were at variance 
with the word of God, and with the Confes- 
sion and Catechism of the Belgic churches, 
but that it could not be done in this place, 
without prejudice to his cause; that he, (Go- 
marus,) tiiought this conference, in order to 
answer the intention of the Illustrions lords 
the States, might better be conducted in this 
manner, namely, that without these miitual 
accusations, each of them should clearly and 
perspicuously explain and set forth his own 
opinion, concerning every one of the heads 
of doctrine; for thence it might most advan- 
tageously be understood, in what things they 
agreed or disagreed. As to what belonged 
to himself, he would not shrink from ex- 
plaining his opinion concerning all the heads 
of doctrine fully and openly, as much so, in- 
deed, as could be desired by any one; that 
Arminius also, if he were willing fully to 
perform the part of a faithful teacher, ought 
in the same manner to declare his own opin- 
ion, and not any longer in this business to 
use subterfuges of this kind. He, (Armi- 



nius,) nevertheless persisted in his purpose; 
so that he at length exclaimed that he won- 
dered, seeing various rumours of his hetero- 
doxy had gone about through the churches; 
and the conflagration excited by him, was 
said to rise above the very roofs of the 
churches; that he yet found no one who 
dared to lodge an accusation against him. 
Gomarus, in order to meet this boasting, un- 
dertook to prove that he had taught such an 
opinion concerning the first article of our 
faith, namely, concerning the justification of 
man before God, as was opposed to the word 
of God, and to the Confession of the Belgic 
churches. For the proof of this thing, he 
produced his own very words, written out 
from the hand writing of the same Arminius, 
in which he asserts, that in the justification 
of man before God, the righteousness of 
Christ is not imputed for righteousness; but 
that faith itself, or the act of believing {to 
credere,) by the gracious acceptation, {accep- 
tationem, acquittal,) was that our righte- 
ousness, by which we are justified before 
God. When Arminius saw himself thus fast 
bound, as he could not indeed deny this to 
be evidence of proof, {evidentiain prohatiu- 
nis, conclusive evidence,) he began to con- 


sent to another method of proceeding, name- 
ly, that each should sign in a writing his 
own opinion, comprised in certain theses, 
concerning the principal articles in which 
the difference was thought to consist; on 
which each afterwards, in return, marked 
his own animadversions. 

This conference having been terminated, 
the counsellors of the supreme court reported 
to the illustrious the states of Holland and 
West Friesland, that they, as far as they had 
been able to perceive from the conference, 
judged, that the controversies, which had 
arisen between these two professors, were 
not of so great importance, but regarded es- 
pecially some more subtile disputes concern- 
ing Predestination, which might either be 
omitted or connived at, {dissinnilari,) by a 
mutual toleration. But Gomarus added, that 
the difference detected in the opinions were 
of so great moment, that he, with the opinion 
of Arminius, should not dare to appear be- 
fore the judgment of God: and, unless a 
remedy were maturely applied, it was to be 
feared, lest in a short time, one province 
should be engaged in contest against another, 
church against church, state against state, 
and citizens against each other. But the 



Illustrious the States determined, that the 
writings sealed on each side in this confer- 
ence, should be preserved in the supreme 
court, even unto a national Synod, neither 
should they be communicated in the mean 
while to any man [cuiqiiam mortalium.) 
Yet, neither did this conference deliver from 
anxiety the churches, but rather increased it; 
especially as the things which had been done 
at it were concealed from the churches. For 
not without reason they judged, (Aat<(i te- 
mert,) that this was done in favour of Ar- 
minius, lest his opinions should be made 
manifest. In the mean while the churches 
did not cease, by their deputies, strenuously 
to petition the Illustrious States, that this 
ecclesiastical cause, which, except with great 
danger of the church, could not be deferred, 
might be examined and decided on, as soon 
as possible, by the judgment either of a law- 
ful provincial, or a national Synod. Wlien 
Arminius understood this, he procured by 
Utenbogardus, whose authority at that time 
was great among most of the chief persons 
of the country, that the Illustrious States 
should command, that the Annual Synods 
themselves, as well of South as of North 
Holland, the time of which was at hand. 


should be deferred. Bat as this could not 
be done without the greatest detriment of 
the churches, they again, having explained 
before the Illustrious the States their difficul- 
ties, petitioned, either that it might be allow- 
ed, to hold, according to custom, each of the 
annual Synods, as well that in South, as in 
North Holland; or that out of each united 
together one provincial Synod should as soon 
as possible be called, as it had also before 
this been petitioned. 

June 28, 160S.J To this petition, the Illus- 
trious States declared, that they had deter- 
mined, in the next October, to call together 
a provincial Synod for this purpose. When 
this had been made known to the churches, 
all the pastors attached to Arminius were 
again admonished, that each of them should 
lay open to his Classis, his considerations, (or 
remarks, consider ationes,) that the same 
might be lawfully carried to the approach- 
ing Synod. But they, as before, so now also 
each of them, declined this with one consent, 
with their accustomed evasions [tergiversa- 
tioiiibus.) And when the month of October 
approached, and the churches pressed the 
convocation of a provincial Synod, as pro- 
mised, that was again deferred for two 



months: and it was again permitted to the 
churches, to hold the particular annual Sy- 
nods, as well in South as in North Holland ; 
yet on this condition, that the cause of Ar- 
minius should not be treated of in the same, 
which they willed to be reserved to the Pro- 
vincial Synod. In the Synod of the churches 
of South Holland, which was held at Dor- 
drecht (or Dort,) when it had been reported, 
that all the pastors attached to Arminius 
were hitherto unwilling to lay open their 
considerations, which they said they had 
against the received doctrine, to their fellow 
pastors, {symmistis,) but that they eluded 
by various evasions, the admonitions of the 
churches, and the decrees of the Synods ; it 
was determined, that it should be gravely 
enjoined on them, to lay open these their 
considerations within the space of the next 
month, after the admonition given, under the 
penalty of incurring the ecclesiastical censure 
against the contumacious. The same also 
was demanded from the professors of sacred 
theology in the University of Leyden, and 
from Peter Bertius, the ruler of the theologi- 
cal college. These pastors, when they saw, 
that either their opinion must be laid open, 
or they must undergo the ecclesiastical cen- 


sure; in order to evade each of these, they, 
by the aid of Utenbogardus, obtained letters 
from the Illnstrious lords the States, in which 
it was enjoined on these pastors, that within 
the space of one month they should transmit 
to the lords the States themselves, the consi- 
derations which they had, sealed up, that 
they might be reserved by the same, to be 
exhibited to the provincial Synod. The pro- 
fessors, being asked by the deputies of the 
Synod if they had any considerations of this 
kind, to open these before them, Gomarus 
answered, indeed, that he had observed no- 
thing in the Confession and Catechism of the 
churches which he thought in need of cor- 
rection or alteration, as too little agreeing 
with the word of God; but Arminius, that 
he would answer by writing to this demand, 
in his own time. And when he saw him- 
self thus urged by the churches to the decla- 
ration of his opinion, he explained in a pro- 
lix discourse to the lords the States, in their 
stated convention, what he thought concern- 
ing divine predestination, the grace of God, 
and the free-will of man, the perseverence 
of the saints, the assurance of salvation; tlie 
perfection of man in this life, the Deity of the 
Son of God, the justification of man before 



God, and the other heads of doctrine. At 
the same time, he endeavoured to persuade 
the Illustrious the States, that, in these re- 
formed churches, a doctrine was delivered 
concerning the divine predestination, which 
was at variance {pugnaret) with the na- 
ture of God, with his wisdom, justice, and 
goodness; with the nature of man and his 
free-will; with the work of the creation; with 
the nature of life and death eternal, and 
finally with that of sin; and which took 
away the divine grace was inimical to the 
glory of God, and pernicious to the salvation 
of men; which made God the author of sin, 
hindered sorrow for sin, took away all pious 
solicitude, lessened the earnest desire of do- 
ing good things, extinguished the ardour of 
prayer, took away the " fear and trembling" 
with which we ought to " work out our own 
salvation," made way for desperation, sub- 
verted the gospel, hindered the ministry of 
the word, and lastly, overturned the founda- 
tions, not only of the Christian religion, but 
also wholly of all religion.* 

* It is probable, that in all the volumes, which ever 
since that time have been written b}' Arniinians, or Anti- 
Calvinists, in rcllitation of Calvinism, there is no objection 
of any |)lausibility urjred against tiic doctrines designated 
by tliat term, which is not hero briefly, and fairly, and 


When Gomarus had heard these things, 
he deemed it a part of his duty, to give bet- 
ter information {melius o'lidire) to the Illus- 
trious lords the States, lest perhaps by this 
method, their minds should be pre-occupied 
with unfavourable prejudices against the 
orthodox doctrine. Having therefore peti- 
tioned for permission to speak, he, in the 
same convention, copiously {prolixc) ex- 
plained what was the genuine opinion of 
Arminius concerning the grace of God, and 
the free-will of man, the justification of man 
before God, the perfection of man in tiiis life, 
predestination, the origin of sin, and the per- 

emphatically stated, as used by Arminius, before the States 
of Holland, in this history, written witli the express pur- 
pose of sanctioning the decisions of the Synod of Dort : 
perhaps, no where else can so compendious a list of these 
objections be found. The compilers evidently did not con- 
sider them as unanswerable, or very Ibrmidable ; nor were 
they afraid of Iiaving the whole cause fairly tried and de- 
termined according to the woijd of God; the objections 
being indeed, neither more nor less, than man's presump- 
tuous reasonings against the express, sure, and authorita- 
tive testimony of God himself; the substance of the in- 
quiry which the apostle answered, or silenced at once, 
" Thou wilt say to me, Why doth he yet find fault ? For 
who hath resisted his will ? Nay but, O man," rejoins the 
apostle, " Who art thou that repliest against God ?" It is 
evident from the whole narrative, that the Confession and 
Catechism of the Bclgic churches, as well as the sermons 
and writings of the pastors, were involved in this heavy 
charge, and condemned most deeply by this sweeping 



severance of the saints: and what just cause 
of suspicion he (Arminius) had given, that 
he did not thinli aright, concerning the Holy 
Scripture, the sacred Trinity, the providence 
of God, the satisfaction of Jesus Christ, the 
church, faith, good works, and the other 
heads of doctrine. By what arts also he dis- 
seminated his own opinions; namely, that 
when publicly asked and solemnly enjoined, 
he has hitherto concealed his opinion from 
the churches; but had diligently inculcated it 
privately on the pastors, whom he hoped he 
should be able to draw over into it, and on his 
own pupils (or scholars); that he enervated 
the principal arguments of our party, {nos- 
trorum,) with which the orthodox doctrine 
used to be fortified; but confirmed those of 
the Jesuits, and of the other adversaries, with 
which they are accustomed to fight against 
the doctrine of the reformed churches; that 
he suggested various doubts concerning the 
truth of the received doctrine, into the minds 
of the pupils; and (taught them) to hold the 
same at first as in an equilibrium with the 
heterodox doctrine, and at length altogether 
to reject it; that liitherto he had not been 
willing to publish any declaration of sinceri- 
ty and consent in doctrine, though very often 


lovingly, and in a brotherly manner, asked 
by the churches to do it: that he had earnest- 
ly laboured by all means, that he might not 
lay open to the churches his errors, which 
had been detected before the supreme court: 
and that he had aimed at this one thing, by 
delaying the time, to have the opportunity of 
drawing over the more persons into his own 
opinion, and of every where occupying the 
churches: that, having despised the decisions 
and decrees of Synods, Classes, and Consis- 
tories, he had in the first instance burst forth 
{prosiliisse) to the tribunal of the Supreme 
Magistrate, and had there proposed his com- 
plaints and accusations against the doctrine 
of the churches; and by the arts of a courtier 
(aulicas) had industriously studied to con- 
ciliate favour to himself, but to bring hatred 
on the churches. Wherefore he (Gomarus) 
earnestly entreated the States, (seeing that the 
students of sacred theology in the University 
of Leyden, and every where the pastors, 
daily more and more revolted from the or- 
thodox doctrine, discords and contentions 
spread abroad, the churches were disturbed, 
and the citizens were drawn into parties,) 
that the promised national Synod might as 
early as possible be called ; in which the 



causes of these evils having been legally ex- 
amined, a suitable remedy might at length 
be applied. The deputies of the churches 
also soon after petitioned for the same : but 
by the endeavours of Utenbogardus and 
others it was effected, that this calling of the 
Synod should always be deferred. 

April 4, 1609.] They (the deputies of the 
churches) likewise several times admonished 
Arminius, to send to them the considerations 
contained in the writing which he had promis- 
ed; who at length answered by letter, that he 
did not deny that this had been promised by 
him, but because he had understood that the 
Illustrious the States had ordered the pastors 
to send their considerations sealed up unto 
them, he had changed his mind, {consilhi??i,) 
and that he would wait till the same also 
should be enjoined on him. Peter Bertius, 
the regent of the theological college, being 
admonished by the same deputies, that if he 
had any thing against the received doctrine 
of the churches, he would freely explain it, 
declared his own opinion concerning most of 
the heads of doctrine openly without any 
evasion; and showed that, in the articles of 
the justification of man before God, of pre- 
destination, of the grace of God, of free-will, 



and finally, of the perseverance of true be- 
lievers, {vere Jidelium,) he thought differ- 
ently from the doctrine of the Belgic church- 
es.* This rendered the churches more and 
more anxious; seeing they understood that 
not only Arminius in the University,' but 
Bertius also, in the seminary of the churches 
of Holland, set before the youth entrusted to 
his fidelity, and destined to the ministry of 
the churches, heterodox doctrine; and, hav- 
ing drawn them aside from the sincerity (or 
purity) of the doctrine, instilled into them 
{imbu€re)new opinions. The churches saw 
these things, and grieved; yet they were not 
able to apply the lawful remedy to these 
evils, though it was that which they chiefly 
wished and judged necessary; Utenbogardus, 
and others, whose authority was at that time 

* " There was not, however, any public law, or confes- 
sion of faith, that oblicred the pastors of the reformed 
churches in any part of the world, to conform their senti- 
ments to the tlieo'ogical doctrines that were adopted and 
taught at Geneva." Mosheim, vol. v. p. 366. "Arminius 
knew, that the Dutch divines and doctors, were not obliged 
by their confession of faith, nor by any public law, to adopt 
and propagate the principles of Calvin." Ibid. p. 441. It 
might be supposed iroin this, tliat tiie opposers of Ar- 
minius, and all concerned in procuring the Synod ofDort, 
wanted Arminius and his party to adhere to the Geneva 
Confession and the creed of Calvin, &c.: whereas in fact, 
these are never mentioned in the liistory prefixed to that 
of the Synod, but the received doctrine of the Belgic 
churches alone. 



great among certain chief persons of the 
country, hindering with all their power, by 
their means, all synodical conventions and 
ecclesiastical judgments. 

Hence the pastors attached to Arminius 
were made more bold to propose their own 
heterodox opinions; and they began even 
publicly before the people to defame the 
received doctrine with various calumnies, 
and to rage furiously {debacchari) against it, 
as horrid and detestable. Among these, a 
certain person, (called) Adolphus Venator, 
the pastor of the church of Alcmar in North 
Holland, was not the last; who, besides that 
he was of too little approved a life, {vitse 
minus prob at X,) o\\q\\\y and by no means in 
a dissembling maimer, scattered abroad Pe- 
lagian and Socinian errors, with incredible 
impudence, publicly and privately: for which 
cause, he was suspended from the oflice of 
teaching, by the legitimate judgment of the 
churches of North Holland. He (however) 
despising the judgment of the churches, per- 
sisted in the office of teaching, against the 
will of the churches. The orthodox pastors 
ill the Classis of Alcmar judged that this 
unholy man, {impuru7n,) having been law- 
fully suspended from the ministry, and a 



few other pastors whom he had drawn over 
mto his opinion, and who pertinaciously re- 
fused to testify their consent to the doctrine 
of the reformed churches, by the subscription 
of the Confession, should not be admitted 
into their assembly. They, having com- 
plained of this matter to the Illustrious the 
States by the aid of Utenbogardus, obtained 
a mandate, by which this admission for them 
was commanded; which when the orthodox 
could not do, because of their conscience ; 
they submissively requested the Illustrious 
the States, that they might not be burdened 
by mandates of this kind, which they could 
not conscientiously obey. The deputies of 
the churches, when they saw that these dis- 
sentions and scandals were daily more and 
more increased, again earnestly entreated (or 
adjured, obtestati stmt) the Illustrious the 
States, in the name ot'the churches, that the 
promised provincial Synod might be called 
together at the earliest time, for the removal 
of these evils. But when Utenbogardus, 
and the rest of the pastors addicted to Ar- 
minius, observed the minds of the Illustrious 
lords the States to incline to tiiis; in order 
that they might avoid the ecclesiaslical de- 


cisions, they effected by certain individuals 
who seemed more attached to their cause, 
that in the stead of the provincial Synod, 
a conference, concerning the controverted 
articles between Gomarus and Arminius, 
should be held, in the convention itself of the 
Illustrious States; in the which each might 
take to himself four pastors, whose counsels 
they might be allowed to use. Arminius 
had taken .Tannes Utenbogardus, of Hague, 
Adrian Borrius of Leyden, Nicholas Grevin- 
chovius of Rotterdam, and the before men- 
tioned Adolphus Venator of the Alcmarian 
church. But Gomarus, (took) Ricardus Ac- 
ronius of Scheidam, James Roland of Am- 
sterdam, John Bogardus of Harlem, and 
Festus Hommius of Leyden, pastors of the 

When they had come together, Gomarus 
and the pastors, who had joined themselves 
to him, requested these two things: 1. That 
this conference should be instituted in wri- 
ting to be exhibited on each side; by which 
means, vain rumours of whatever kind might 
be counteracted. 2. That these writings 
should afterwards be delivered to a national 
Synod, to be examined and judged, by which 



the judgment of an ecclesiastical cause, might 
be reserved entire to the churches, "^ The 
Illustrious the States, willed that the con- 
ference should be instituted, by word of 
mouth, {viva voce,) yet so that it might be 
allowed to use writing in aid of the memory; 
and they promised, having given public let- 
ters for confirmation of the matter, that this 
cause, when they had known concerning the 
same from this conference, should be reserved 
to the judgment of a provincial Synod; and 
in order to this, that all things whatever, 
which should there be treated of by word of 
mouth, being afterwards sealed up in wri- 
ting, those writings should be exhibited to 
the Synod. 

The same persons also thought it a shame- 
ful thing, {indigimm,) that Adolphus Vena- 
tor who, on account of his doctrine and 
impure life, had been suspended from the 
ministry by tlie lawful censures of the 

* That this cause might be regularly condemned, it was 
judged " proper to bring it before an ecclesiastical assem- 
bly or Synod. This method of proceeding, was agreeable 
to the sentiments and principles of the Calvinists, who are 
of opinion, that all spiritual concerns and religious contro- 
versies ought to be judged and decided by an ecclesiastical 
assembly or council." — Moshnm, vol. v. p. 450. " The 
Calvinists are not particular in this ; and indeed it is natu- 
ral that debates, purely theological, should be discussed in 
an assembly of divines." — Note, Ibid. Maclaine. 


churches, should be brought forward (or 
employed, adhiberi) in such a conference, to 
the great detriment of ecclesiastical censures. 
Wherefore they demanded, that another per- 
son should be taken in his place; which, as 
Arminius vehemently struggled against it, 
they were not able to obtain. In the begin- 
ning also, a disputation occurred concerning 
the order of handling the articles. For Ar- 
minius seemed to place the great defence of 
his cause in this, that the beginning should 
be made with the article of predestination. 
Gomarus thought, that because the article 
which respected justification seemed more 
necessary, the beginnings should be made 
with it; which also pleased the Illustrious 
the States.^ 

Concerning this article, there was the same 
controversy, which had previously been agi- 
tated before the supreme court, namely, 
Whether faith, inasmuch as it is an act ac- 
cording to the gracious estimation of God, be 
that righteousness itself by which we are 

* Arminius in this point, sliowed his sound policy : for 
when decianiations against predestination have prepared 
the way, a prejudice as to the other doctrines connected 
with it, or held by those who hold that offensive doctrine, 
will seldom be impartinlly considered. Some modern refu- 
ters of (^Jalvinism either have not been so politic, or they 
have been more fair, iu this respect than Arminius was. 


justified before God. In the second place, it 
was treated concerning the doctrine of divine 
predestination, which Arminius endeavoured 
to render odious, by the same consequences, 
which he had lately brought forward in the 
convention of the Illustrious the States. But 
Gomarus urged the principal point, namely, 
Whether faith were the antecedent cause or 
condition of election, or whether indeed the 
fi'uit or effect of the same. The third con- 
troversy was concerning the grace of God 
and free-will. Arminius professed that he 
acknowledged all the operations of divine 
grace, whatever could be assigned in the 
conversion of man; only that no grace should 
be assigned, which is irresistible. Goma- 
rus showed what ambiguity and what guile 
might be concealed under that word irre- 
sistible; namely, that indeed under the same 
might be hidden the doctrine of the Semi- 
Pelagians, and the Synergists (Co-operators) 
which had been condemned of old: and he 
stated, that in the regeneration of man, that 
grace of the Holy Spirit was necessary; 
which works so efficaciously, that the resist- 
ance of the flesh being overcome, whosoever 
are made partakers of this grace, are cer- 
tainly and infallibly converted to God by the 


same. Finally, they treated concerning the 
perseverance of the truly believing. Armi- 
nius declared, that he had never opposed the 
doctrine of the certain perseverance of the 
truly believing, nor thus far was he willing 
to oppose it, because those testimonies of 
Scripture stood for it (or were extant for it) 
to which he was not as yet able to answer; 
he should therefore only propose those topics, 
which in this article had excited scruple and 
hesitation in him.* When Gomarus had an- 
swered to these topics, he confirmed this doc- 
trine from the word of God by many evident 

These things having been fully discussed, 
the collocutors were asked, whether there re- 
mained more articles, concerning which they 
differed from each other. Gomarus answer- 
ed, that there were more: the articles for in- 
stance concerning original sin, the provi- 
dence of God, the authority of the sacred 
Scriptures, the assurance of salvation, the 

* It is remarkable, that Arniinius liimsclf in this his last 
public conference, and just before his death, should express 
himself so undecided on this grand point of decided and 
unqualified opposition to modern Arminians; and should 
make the concession, that he was not yet able to answer 
the Scriptures, which seemed to favour the doctrine of the 
final perseverance in all true believers. It is worthy the 
serious consideration of his disciples. — He died Oct. 19, in 
this same year. 


perfection of man in this life, and some 
others, concerning which, whether they 
should treat also in this place, he left to the 
prudence of the Illustrious the States; espe- 
cially as they must a second time be discuss- 
ed by them in the Synod. But when the 
state of Arminius' health did not seem such 
as could endure a longer conference, it 
pleased the Illustrious the States, that it 
should be broken off; after that they had 
promised, to the petition of Gomarus and the 
rest of the pastors who had joined themselves 
to him, that this entire cause should be more 
fully examined and decided on in a provin- 
cial Synod, to be called together as soon as 
might be; and had enjoined the collocutors, 
that each of them should exhibit to them his 
opinion with the arguments and refutations 
of the contrary opinion, contained in a writ- 
ing, within the space of fourteen days; in or- 
der that these writings might be preserved 
by them, even to the provincial Synod. Go- 
marus within the prescribed time transmitted 
his writings, which were afterwards publish- 
ed in Dutch {Belgice.) 

As the difficulties of the church were rather 
increased than taken away by this confer- 
ence, the deputies of the churches submis- 



sively again petitioned the Illustrious the 
States, that the provincial Synod, so often 
before, and in the conference itself promised, 
should be called, and also at the earliest 
time. Answer was returned to them, though 
there were certain persons who strove against 
it, that the convocation of it would then be 
appointed, when the pastors of the Alcme- 
rian Classis had obeyed the mandate of the 
Illustrious the States, admitting to their as- 
sembly Adolphus Venator, and the pastors 
attached to him. But lest that affair should 
delay the provincial Synod, the deputies of 
the churches going to Alcmar, treated with 
the pastors of that Classis concerning this 
admission, and so far prevailed on them that 
they were ready to admit the pastors attach- 
ed to Venator, on honourable conditions (or 
equitable, honestis): but they laid before the 
deputies so many and weighty reasons why 
they could not admit Venator himself, that 
they themselves judged, that, in this respect, 
they ought not to be urged. When this had 
been reported to the Illustrious the States, 
not even yet could the calling of a Synod be 
obtained. For indeed the pastors attached 
to Arminius effected this, that it should be 
again enjoined to the Classis of Alcmar, un- 



reservedly to admit these pastors without any 
condition; which when they could not do, 
the calling {of the Synod) was again hin- 

Arniinius in the meanwhile excused 
himself to the Illustrious States by letters; 
that by reason of bodily weakness he was 
not able to prepare the writing enjoined 
him; which weakness so increased upon him 
by degrees, that a short time after he depart- 
ed this life. [Oct. 19, 1609.] Thus these 
contests and dissensions exercised the Uni- 
versity and the churches of Batavia while 
Arminius was living; but when he was 
taken away from among the living, though 

* " These measures confirmed, instead of removing the 
apprehensions of the Calvinists ; from day to day they 
were still more firmly persuaded that the Arminians aimed 
at nothing- less, than the ruin of all religion : and hence 
they censured their magistrates with great warmlli and 
freedom, Ibr interposing their authority to promote peace 
and union with such adversaries. And tliose, who are 
well informed and impartial, must candidly acknowledge, 
that the Arminians were far from being sufficiently cau- 
tious in avoiding connexions with persons of loose princi- 
ples: and by frcquentin;^ the company of those whose sen- 
timents were entireij- ililTerent from the received doctrines 
of tlie reformed rhurch, they furnished their enemies with 
a pretext for susj)ecting their own principles, and repre- 
senting their theological system in the worst colours." — 
(Mosheim, vol. v. p. 445.) It seems evident that they pa- 
tronized men not only of loose principles, but of licentious 
character. 'I lie word Calvinists is not used in the histo- 
rical preface of the Synod of Dort. 



every good man hoped, that a great pa.rt of 
these evils would be taken away and buried 
along with him, seeing, that he had been the 
leader and author of all these contentions; 
yet, as many pastors, every where in the 
churches of Holland, had consented to his 
opinion, and would not cease from propa- 
gating it, the deputies of the churches 
thought, that nevertheless the convocation of 
a provincial Synod should be urged; to 
whom it was again answered, that the Illus- 
trious the States would then consider about 
calling some ecclesiastical convention, when 
the Classis of Alcmar had obeyed their man- 

In the mean time the pastors attached to 
Arminius, when they saw the affair brought 
into such a situation, that, the calling of a 
Synod having been hindered, little seemed to 
be feared by them from ecclesiastical judg- 
ments and censures; as if with loosened reins 
of boldness and impudence, they began to 
inveigh and rage furiously, both in public 
and private, against the orthodox doctrine of 
the reformed churches, concerning election, 
the perseverance of the saints, the assurance 
of salvation, and other articles, with the most 
bitter and contumelious revilings, with the 


greatest offence of the pious, and the con- 
gratulation of adversaries, and disturbance 
of the churches; and to render the doctrine 
of the churches by all means suspected by 
the people, and to embitter the minds, espe- 
cially of the nobles, {magnatum) against it, 
and the faithful teachers of the same. Neither 
was it sufficient for them, by private whis- 
perings, and public and official sermons [tri- 
bunitiis) to excite the minds, as well of the 
common people asof the rulers; but by pub- 
lic writings also, which in great number, and 
not with less scandal, were daily every where 
dispersed among the people, they so defamed 
{jjroscindebant, cut up) the doctrine of the 
reformed churches, that the sworn adversa- 
ries of the same had scarcely been able to do 
it with greater virulence and evil speaking. 
And, that they might the better conciliate to 
themselves the favour of the magistrates, and 
render their minds more and more bitter 
against the rest of the pastors, by Utenbo- 
gardus, at first in a speech made in the con- 
vention of the Illustrious the States, and then 
publicly in writing, they endeavoured to per- 
suade the magistrates, that the rest of the 
pastors diminished and undermined the au- 
thority of the magistrates, and affected and 


arrogated to themselves a power collateral, 
or equal to their power. 

Wherefore the deputies of the churches 
judged, that the Illustrious the States should 
be again approached, and entreated, that they 
would deign at length to apply a legal re- 
medy to these evils, which seemed now to 
have come to the height, by calling together 
a Provincial Synod. And when the Illus- 
trious the States seemed easily about to con- 
sent, because of the extreme necessity of the 
matter, the pastors attached to the opinions 
of Arminius suggested to them a new coun- 
sel, by which they thought that this calling 
(of a Synod) might either be entirely hin- 
dered, or be so instituted, that their cause 
might be in safety: namely, that the persons, 
from among whom the Synod was to be 
called, should not be delegated by the 
churches, (as was equitable, and had been 
hitherto the custom,) but be called forth by 
the States themselves: for they would easily 
afterwards obtain that those only should be 
selected, who either were attached to their 
cause, or too little averse from it. This in- 
novation, though they had already persuaded 
some of the chief persons of the country, the 
more prudent could not approve ; who judged 



that this convocation (of a Synod) should 
be instituted after the accustomed manner. 
They effected, nevertheless, that, while a 
disputation was excited among the Illustri- 
ous the States, concerning the manner of 
calling the Synod, that the convocation itself, 
(which in the first place these pastors re- 
garded,) not only of the Provincial Synod, 
but of the Annual Synods, and those which 
before were ordinarily held, should by this 
means be entirely hindered. For as often as 
they who wished, that these evils should be 
taken away from the churches by this lawful 
remedy, made mention concerning the con- 
vocation of any Synod; so often they who 
favoured Arminius and his cause, renewed the 
contentions concerning the manner of calling 
it. Wherefore the pastors also, who were 
attached to the opinions of the same, (Armi- 
nius,) when they discerned that matters were 
now brought to that situation, that the fear 
of all ecclesiastical judgment and censure 
seemed to be taken away, being rendered 
more daring, their own churches not having 
been consulted, or aware of it, and without 
the authority of the supreme magistrate, they 
privately met together in a great number; 



and there, having entered into confederacy 
or conspiracy, by the subscription of names, 
they formed a body, as they called it, sepa- 
rate from the body of the rest of their fellow 
pastors, and instituted a manifest schism in 
the reformed churches. At this time they 
exhibited a suppliant writing, {libellum,) or, 
as they called it, the Remonstrance, to the 
Illustrious the States of Holland and West 
Friesland; from which they were afterwards 
called Remonstrants. In this they placed 
before them the doctrine of the reformed 
churches, concerning the divine predestina- 
tion, and the perseverance of the saints, un- 
faithfully, {mala fide,) and not without open 
and atrocious slanders,* that by this means 
they might render it odious to the Illustrious 
orders; at the same time they added that 
declaration of their own opinion concerning 
the same articles, which they under the am- 
biguous coverings of words concealed, that 
so it might appear to the more unskilful not 
much distant from the truth. And moreover 
they petitioned from the Illustrious the States, 

* It seems a sort alright hi/ prescription to Anticalvin- 
ists, to misrepresent and bear false witness against the 
Calvinistic doctrines, and those wiio lioid tlienj : I would 
that no Calvinist had ever imitated thcni in tliis respect. 


to be received under their patronage and 
protection, against all the censures of the 

This matter vehemently affected all the 
Belgic churches with amazement and grief, 
{percullt,) as they saw that these controver- 
sies had now burst forth into an open schism; 
and they used every endeavour that they 
might be able to procure a copy of this re- 
monstrance, by which means an answer 
might be returned to the calumnies of these 
persons. But, by the favour of him who 
was used to keep these things, they (the 
Remonstrants) easily obtained, that not one 
copy could come into the hands of the rest 
of the pastors. Another thing was added to 
this calamity of the churches, which above 
measure increased their anxiety and their 
difficulties. For when a successor was sought 
to J. Arminius in the Professorship of theo- 
logy, the deputies of the churches strenu- 
ously requested and adjured the most ample 
the Directors of the University of Leyden,in 
the public name of the churches, that they 
would substitute in that place a man clear 
from all suspicion of heterodoxy; in order 
that by this means the controversies in the 
University of Leyden might gradually cease, 



and iheir peace be restored to the churches: 
at the same time they commended certain 
eminent theologians, as well foreign as Bel- 
gic, to the directors; but without success 
{irrito successu.) For the Remonstrants, 
who seem to have pre-occupied the minds of 
certain persons, effected by their commenda- 
tions, that Conradus Vorstius, a Professor of 
Steinfurt, a man for many years justly sus- 
pected by the reformed churches of Socinian- 
ism, should be called to the Professorship of 
Theology in the place of Arminius: and for 
that cause that Utenbogardus should be sent 
away to Steinfurt: which thing when the 
deputies of the churches had understood, 
they thought it to belong to their duty to ad- 
monish the Illustrious the States, that a man 
of this kind might not rashly be admitted to 
this vocation, who might be as a nail or claw 
in an ulcer, especially in so disturbed a state 
of the churches. Moreover, that this might 
be done by them with ihe greater fruit, they 
petitioned by letters from the venerable the 
Theological Faculty of the University of 
Heidelberg, to whom this Vorstius had been 
intimately known, that it would sincerely 
declare, whether it thought that this Vors- 
tius, in the present state of things, could with 


profit, and the peace and edification of the 
churches, be placed over the education of 
youth in the University of Leyden. It was 
also answered (by this Theological Faculty) 
that a certain book of his had lately been 
published concerning God and the divine 
attributes, in which he refuted {convelleret) 
the doctrine both of ancient and modern 
theologians; and taught, that God was as to 
essence, great, finite, composed of essence 
and accident, changeable in his will, and ob- 
noxious to passive power, {passivas poten- 
tise,) with other similar portents. And that 
he had been sent ten years since to Heidel- 
berg, that he might clear himself before the 
Theological Faculty, D. Pezelius also being 
present, from {the charge) of Socinianism,of 
which had been accused by the churches. 
And indeed that he had so cleared himself, a 
writing {syngrapha) having been left: but 
that this clearing of himself {purgationem) 
had not been made valid; but, on the con- 
trary, too often and by various means he had 
rendered himself more suspected; because 
he carried in his head a nest of monstrous 
fancies, [portentorum,) with which he had 
hitherto polluted the school and the youth at 
Steinfurt: but if a man of so suspected a 



faith should be called to the most illustrious 
University of Leyden, this would be nothing 
other than to extinguish a conflagration with 

When not only the deputies of the churches 
but also the most ample the magistrates of 
the principal cities of Holland, of Dort for 
instance, and Amsterdam, had signified these 
things to the lords the curators, and to the 
Illustrious the States themselves; and en- 
treated that they would not exasperate the 
difficulties of the churches, and expose them 
to the danger of new and greater (evils) by 
this calling of that man; the Remonstrants 
laboured with all their powers that they 
would not desist from this purposed calUng 
(of him;) for they persuaded them that this 
would be joined with the loss of their own 
authority. In the mean time, Vorstius came 
into Holland; who, after he had been heard 
in the convention of the Illustrious the States, 
Utenbogardus alone of the pastors being pre- 
sent, returned to Steinfurt. 

About this time, when certain students of 
sacred theology having been called to the 
ministry of the word in the divers Classes, 
were about to be subjected to examination, 
the Remonstrants procured it to be enjoined 



to these Classes, by the counsellors of the 
Illustrious the States, that no further declara- 
tion should be demanded from any one, in 
the examination, concerning the article of 
predestination, and the heads annexed to it, 
than what had been expressed in five arti- 
cles of the Remonstrants, which were sent 
along Avith (this injunction;) and at the 
same time, it was strictly forbidden, that 
any should be driven away from the minis- 
try of those who professed that they thought 
in the before mentioned articles with the Re- 
monstrants.* When the pastors, on many 

* The five articles of the Remonstrants so often men- 
tioned in this history, do not occur separately and all to- 
gether in the authenticated documents, of which I make 
use, but comparing the detached accounts of tiicm, and 
the arguments used in the Synod of Dort, concerning 
them, witii the following statement from Mosheim, (vol. v. 
p. 444, 445,) the latter appears sufficiently accurate for 
our present purpose. 

1. "That God, from all eternity, determined to bestow 
salvation on those who, as he foresaw, would persevere 
unto the end in their faith in Christ Jesus, and to inflict 
everlasting punishment on those who should continue in 
their unbelief, and resist, to the end of life, his divine sue- 

2. "That Jesus Christ, by his death and sufferings, 
made an atonement for the sins of mankind in general, 
and of every individual in particular: that, however, none 
but those who believe in him can be partakers of that 
divine benefit. 

3. " That tnip fuilh cannot proceed from the exercise 
of our natural faculties and powers, or from the force and 
operation of free-will, since man, in consequence of his 
natural corruption, is incapable either of thinking or doing 



accounts, were very reluctant, {gravaren- 
tur,) to consent to this, the deputies of the 
churches having been asked by them, laid 
open their grievances, in the next election of 
the Illustrious the States of Holland and 
West Friesland; and at the same time de- 
clared, that they were prepared to prove in 
a lawful Synod, that those articles of the 
Remonstrants were contrary to the word of 
God, and the Confession and Catechism of 

any good thing ; and that therefore it is necessary to his 
conversion and salvation that he be regenerated and re- 
newed by the operation of the Holy Ghost, which is the 
gift of God, through Jesus Christ. 

4. " TJiat this divine grace, or energy of the Holy 
Ghost, which heals the disorders of a corrupt nature, be- 
gins, advances, and brings to perfection every thing that 
can be called good in man; and that, consequently, all 
good works, without exception, are to be attributed to 
God alone, and to the operation of his grace: that, never- 
theless, this grace does not force the man to act against 
his inclination, but may be resisted and rendered ineffec- 
tual by tlie perverse will of the iinjienitcnt sinner. 

5. " That they who are united to Christ by faith arc 
thereby furnished with abundant strength, and with suc- 
cours sufticient to enable tlicm to triumph over the seduc- 
tions of Satan, and the allurements of sin and temptation; 
but that tlic cjucstion. Whether such may fall from their 
faith, and forfeit finally this state of ffracc? has not been 
yet resolved with sulhcicnt perspicuity, and must there- 
fore, be yet more carefully examined by an attentive study 
of what the holy Scriptures have declared in relation to 
this important point." 

" It is to be observed, that this last article was after- 
wards changed by the Arminians, who, in process of 
time, declared their sentiments with less caution, and pos- 
itively aflirmed, that the saints might fall from a state 
of grace.'''' Moshcim, vol. v. p. 445. 


the Eelgic churches: and they entreated the 
lUustrious the States, not to suffer these 
heterodox articles, having never been duly 
examined in a lawful assembly of the 
churches, to be obtruded in this manner on 
the churches; but rather, that they would 
call together the provincial Synod so often 
petitioned for, nay, now for a long time 
earnestly sought, in which these articles 
might be first examined according to the 
rule of the divine word. They showed also, 
with how great scandal and detriment of 
the churches, it would be joined, if the ap- 
pointed calling of Vorstius should proceed. 
And further they request, that this should 
be hindered by the authority of the Illustri- 
ous the States. 

A consultation having been held concern- 
ing these things, it was determined, that a 
conference should be appointed, at the next 
Comitia of the count of Hague, {proximis 
Comitiis Hage-Comitis,) in the convention 
itself of the Illustrious the States, on these five 
articles of the Remonstrants, between six 
pastors, to be chosen by each party. The 
Remonstrants had chosen for themselves, by 
the deputies of the several Classes, John 
Utenbogardus, of the Hague; Adrian Borrius, 



and John Arnoldi Corvin of Leyden; Nicolas 
Grevinchovius of Rotterdam; Edward Pop- 
pius of Goudan, and Simon Episcopius, pas- 
tors of the church of Bleswick. But the rest 
of the pastors had chosen, by the deputies 
of each of the Classes, Peter Plancinus of 
Amsterdam; Libertus Francinus of Brilan; 
Ruardus Acronius of Schiedam; John Bec- 
cius of Dort; John Bogardus of Harlem; 
and Festus Hommius of Leyden, pastors of 
the church. 

March 11, 1611.] When they had met 
together, the Remonstrants refused to insti- 
tute the conference with the other six pastors, 
as with the deputies of the Classes of Hol- 
land and West Friesland, such as they show- 
ed themselves to be by letters of commission 
(Jidei,) lest they should seem to be the ad- 
versaries of the churches: moreover they 
protested that they would depart, the matter 
being left unfinished, {re infecta,) imless 
these would lay aside that character. When 
there had been for a long time much dispu- 
tation, the rest of the pastors chose rather to 
yield to their importunity, than to contend 
any longer concerning that matter. And 
they who had been deputed by the Classes, 
before they went in to the conference, be- 


sought the Illustrious lords the States, that 
the promise which had been made to the 
churches more than two years before, in the 
conference held between Arminius and Go- 
marus, (namely that the conference being 
ended, the judgment of this cause might be 
permitted and reserved to a provincial, or 
national Synod,) might here also be renewed. 
It was agreed upon that this order of pro- 
ceeding should be observed by them; that 
eacli party should comprise in writing the 
arguments of its own opinion ; concerning 
which a conference should then be instituted 
by word of mouth. Before they came to 
the examination of the articles, the pastors, 
who we before said had been deputed by 
the Classes, exhibited an answer to the sup- 
pliant writing {Ubellum) of the Remon- 
strants, a copy of which they had procured 
a little before the conference; in which they 
showed, that the Remonstrants had most un- 
faithfully {pessima Jide) set forth the opinion 
of the reformed churches, and had feigned in 
addition to it {adjinxisse) many things as a 
calumny: and that they had not openly 
avowed their own (opinion), or set forth all 
the articles concerning which there was a 
controversy. And, seeing there were more 



controverted heads, besides those which were 
explained in these five articles, they humbly 
prayed, that, by the authority of the Illustri- 
ous the States, it might be enjoined on the 
Remonstrants, that they should likewise 
roundly and openly declare themselves con- 
cerning all the rest. Therefore, when th^ 
first article of the Remonstrants was about 
to be discussed, (or canvassed, exctitiendiis) 
in which it is stated, " that God had from 
eternity decreed to save persevering be- 
hevers," which no Christian denies; and this 
article was so placed by them, as that which 
contained the doctrine concerning God's 
eternal election; the Remonstrants were ask- 
ed, that (in addition) to the declaration of 
their opinion, as expressed in this article, 
they would explain these two things : First, 
Whether they would maintain that this arti- 
cle contained the wliole decree of predestina- 
tion ; secondly. Whether they thought, that 
this faith and perseverance in the faith were 
causes and conditions which preceded elec- 
tion unto salvation ; or fruits which spring 
/ro7?z election, and follow after it. After they 
had shifted about for some time, they an- 
swered at length, to the first indeed, that 
they acknowledged no other predestination 


to salvation, than that which had been ex- 
pressed by them in the first article; but to 
the second, that faith in the consideration and 
view of God was prior to election to salva- 
tion ; and that it did not follow in the man- 
ner of any fruit. They then proposed in re- 
turn seven other questions, as well concern- 
ing election, as reprobation, to which they 
desired an answer to be given by the pas- 
tors deputed from the Classes, These, as 
they did not belong to the state of the con- 
troversy concerning the first article, and 
moreover were most of them mutilated and 
intricate, were proposed by them, that by 
this method they might draw them from the 
principal state of the controversy, and the 
right manner of treating it into doubtful dis- 
putations (ambages) * The pastors, having 
shown by a libel {libellum) to the Illustrious 
the States this unjust way of proceeding, did 
not indeed entreat that they might not mani- 
fest their own opinion concerning reproba- 
tion; as the Remonstrants had too often ini- 
quitously [improbe) objected to the same 
persons; but declared expressly their opinion, 
as far as they thought might suffice for the 

* A common method among many controversialists, ex- 
pressly called " throwing dust in men's eyes." 



peace and edification of the churches, not 
only by word of mouth, but also in writing: 
That indeed when they state the eternal de- 
cree concerning the election of individual 
persons, they at the same time state the eter- 
nal decree concerning the reprobation or re- 
jection of certain individual persons; because 
it could not be, that there should be election, 
but moreover there must be, at the same 
time, a certain reprobation or dereliction. 
Yet to rashly canvass all these difficult ques- 
tions concerning this article, was nothing 
else, but to fill the church with useless dispu- 
tations and contentions not profitable, and 
to disturb its peace. That this their decla- 
ration suppliantly expressed in this libel, 
ought to suffice all men of moderate disposi- 
tions and lovers of peace: namely, that it 
was indeed believed and taught by them, 
that God condemned no one; yea, neither 
had he decreed to condemn any one, unless 
justly for his own proper sins.* 

It therefore pleased the Illustrious the 

* "That Go'l, by an absolute decree had elected to sal- 
vation a very sniull number of men, without any regard 
to their faith and obedience wliatever; and secluded from 
saving grace all the rest of mankind, and apjiointed them 
by tlic same decree to eternal danuiation, without any re- 
gard to their infidelity or impenitcney." Hcylin's 1st Ar- 
tick oftlic Synod of Dort. 


States, that, leaving these thorny questions, 
they should come to the discussion of the ar- 
ticles. The pastors deputed by the churches, 
proposed in writing their reasons, on account 
of which, they disapproved of each of these 
articles. The Remonstrants also, on the 
other side, exhibited in writing their own 
arguments, by which they thought that each 
of them might be confirmed. About these 
reasons and arguments, disputations were 
held by speaking, in the full convention of 
the Illustrious the States. The parts of the 
collocutor, in the name of those deputed by 
the churches, were sustained by Festus Hom- 
mius; but in the name of the Remonstrants, 
at first by Adrian Borrius, and then by Nic- 
olas Grevinchovius, John Arnoldi, and Simon 
Episcopius, succeeding each other by turns. 
While the pastors were occupied in this 
conference, Conr. Vorstius had returned out 
of Westphalia into Holland, whom the Illus- 
trious the States appointed to be heard in a 
full convention, all the collocutors being pre- 
sent. When they were come together, he 
made a prolix oration, in which he endea- 
voured to clear himself from the errors ob- 
jected to him. Then the collocutors were 
asked, whether they had any considerations, 



on account of which they judged that the 
calUng of Vorstius, to the professorship of 
theology in the university of Leyden, should 
be hindered. The Remonstrants expressly 
declared, that they had nothing against Vor- 
stius; neither had they detected any thing in 
his writings, which was repugnant to truth 
and piety.* The other pastors exhibited in 
writing their reasons, for which they judged 
that this vocation would be vehemently mis- 
chievous and disgraceful to the churches of 
Holland: and they showed from a book of 
Socinus, concerning the authority of the sa- 
cred Scriptures, edited by Vorstius himself, 
and interpolated; and also from that, which 
Vorstius himself iiad very lately written and 
published concerning God and the divine 
attributes, his principal errors, concerning 
which there was held during some days a 
conference between him and Festus Hora- 
miiis, in the convention of the Illustrious the 
States, in the presence of the collocutors. 
This having been finished, the pastors on 
each side were again asked by the Illustrious 

* " Among the persecuted ecclesiastics was the famous 
Vorstius, who by his rchgious sentiments, which differed 
but little from the Soeinian system, Imd rendered tlie Ar- 
minians particularly odious." Moshcini, vol. v. p. 455. 


the States, that they would sincerely, and 
without any passions {affectibus) declare, 
whether Vorstius by his answers seemed to 
have satisfied them. The Remonstrants an- 
swered, that full satisfaction had been given 
to them by Vorstius; and they moreover 
judged, that it would be very useful to the 
churches and to the University, if his voca- 
tion proceeded. The rest of the pastors de- 
clared in writing, that the answers of Vor- 
stius were so far from having moved them 
from their former opinion, that by them they 
were the more confirmed in that opinion: 
and that: his vocation could not be forwarded, 
except by the extreme detriment of the 
churches and of the University, and the ma- 
nifest danger of still greater disturbance; to 
which, that they might not rashly expose 
the churches by this vocation, they submis- 
sively adjured (or obtested) the Illustrious 
the States, that, dismissing Vorstius, they 
might return to the conference concerning 
the five articles of the Remonstrants: and 
when this, having been continued during 
some days, was at length brought to a con- 
clusion, the Illustrious the States commanded 
the collocutors on each side, that those things 
which had been spoken, viva voce, and wliat- 



ever they might judge necessary to a more 
full answer, being on each side comprised in 
writing, should by Utenbogardus and Festus 
be exhibited to the Illustrious the States. 
And in the mean time, that the pastors might 
not glory among themselves, concerning the 
victory, which they had gained one over the 
other, but that they might teach moderately 
with edification concerning the controverted, 
articles, and live among themselves in peace 
and charity, they determined that these arti- 
cles should be left in the same state, in which 
they had been before the conference. 

In the cause of Vorstius nothing was at 
that time decided, but when a little time 
afterwards, the most ample the magistrates 
of the city of Dort, by their delegates, most 
ample men, D. Hugo Musius, ab Holii the 
Praetor (or Mayor,) James Wittius, Adrian 
Repelarius, John Berkius, the Syndic, re- 
quested the Illustrious the States, seeing 
rumours concerning the errors and heresies 
of Vorstius, became daily more and more 
frequent, that his vocation might be broken 
off, or at least deferred; the Illustrious the 
States commanded the curators of the Uni- 
versity, to proceed no further in his vocation. 
And when the report of his vocation had 


come to James the First himself the most 
Serene and powerful king of Great Britain, 
the Defender of the Faith, who out of his 
admirable skill in theological matters, espe- 
cially in a king, and for his singular zeal to- 
wards the reformed religion, when he had 
himself carefully read the tract of Vorstius 
concerning God, and had noted the princi- 
pal errors with his own hand, judged that 
the Illustrious the High Mightinesses the 
States General, his neighbours and allies, 
were to be admonished, as well by letters, 
(the catalogue of his errors being also trans- 
mitted,) as by his own ambassador, an Illus- 
trious person, D. Rodolphus Winwood, not 
to admit a man infamous by so many and 
so great errors and blasphemies, to the pub- 
lic office of teaching in the University; but 
rather to banish him from their borders: lest 
if the youth should be imbued by him with 
these wicked and execrable errors, the state 
should by little and little go to decay; seeing 
that, by the purity of the reformed doctrine, 
in which the Belgic churches had hitlierto 
cultivated an amicable agreement with the 
English, and in the preservation of it, the 
safety of the republic itself was concerned.* 

• This at least shows the general judgment of theolo- 


When this was delayed, the Remonstrants 
earnestly striving against it, and especially 
Vorstius, by various explanations, apologies, 
prologues (prodromis,) and answers, as well 
modest, as more fully excusing and strength- 
ening {incrustante) his own errors; yet his 
most Serene Royal Majesty did not desist to 
urge his dismission, sometimes repeating his 
admonitions, and even adding a serious pro- 
testation.* ' , 
While these things were doing, certain 
students of sacred theology, who likewise 
had come forth from the instruction and 
the house of Vorstius, in the University of 
Franekar, which they had now been sedu- 
lously employed in infecting with Socinian 
errors, published in print a certain little book 
of Faustus Socinus, concerning the duty of 

gians concerning Vorstius, whom the Remonstrants so 
zealously supported ; and even still more strongly, on the 
supposition that James and his select divines, were not at 
that time favourable to Calvinism. 

* This shows that the generally received doctrine of 
the church of England was then supposed to be ; viz. for 
substance the same as thai of the Bclgic churcli. The 
culogium on James I. reminds us of the words ot'Cowper, 
" Grant me discernment, I allow it you:" yet the English 
divines have spoken still more decidedly on the subject. 
(Preface to Translation of the Bible.) It may be suppos- 
ed, that the Belgic divines who adhered to the Synod of 
l>ort, would retract or qualify this culogium, when they 
learned the change which soon after took place in Eng- 
land under the patronage of the same James. 


a Christian man; in which persuasions are 
given, that all who would consult the salva- 
tion of their own souls, having deserted the 
dogmas and assemblies of the Reformed 
churches, should embrace the opinion of the 
Phothinians and theEbionites; adding a pre- 
face, in which they diligently commend this 
book unto the churches.* The Illustrious 
the States of Friesland, having been assured 
of this, and having at the same time pro- 
cured certain familiar letters of these stu- 
dents, in which they declared, by what arts 
the common cause of Socinianism, (which 
they not obscurely intimated was also car- 
ried on by Vorstius and by Utenbogardus 
and others in Holland,) might be occultly 
and safely propagated; having taken care 
that the most of these copies of this book 
should be destroyed by the avenging flames, 
and having expelled the students from their 
confines: they, at first indeed by letters, ad- 
monished the magistrates of the principal 
cities of Holland; and then by the most no- 

* " Photinus's opinions concerning- the Deity, were 
equally repugnant to the orthodox and Arian systems." — 
(See Mosheim, vol. i. p. 425, 426.) Though the Ebionites 
believed the celestial mission of Clirist, and his participa- 
tion of a divine nature, yet they regarded him as a man 
born of Joseph and Mary, according to the ordinary 
course of nature." — (Ibid. vol. i. p. 214, 215.) 


ble person Kempsoii a Donia, the Illustrious 
lords the States themselves; and they re- 
quested, inasmuch as the orthodox consent 
in the reformed doctrine was the principal 
bond and foundation of union among the 
confederated provinces, that they would not 
admit, by the vocation of one man, thus sus- 
pected of manifest heresies, this agreement 
to be enfeebled; nor suffer themselves to be 
led about by artifices and frauds of this kind, 
by which it was evident, that these men 
secretly attempted this. But the pastors of 
Leovvard having made public the ahove 
mentioned letters of the students, with ne- 
cessary annotations, solemnly warned all the 
churches to take heed to themselves against 
artifices of this kind, and especially the de- 
ceitful machinations of the heretics, and in 
the first place of Vorstius. The Illustrious 
dukedom of Gueldria and county of Lut- 
phan also warned the Illustrious the States 
of Holland, concerning the same thing, who 
answered, that nothing would be more their 
hearty desire and care, than that they might 
retain, in the common business of religion, 
this consent with the rest of the federated 
provinces inviolate. Concerning which their 
constant purpose, they peculiarly requested, 


that their federated neighbours would be as- 
sured. In the mean time, that they them- 
selves would have regard to this admoni- 
tion. And they command Vorstius, to re- 
move his place of abode from the city of 
Leyden to Gouda, and there to vindicate 
himself from the errors objected to him by 
public writings, as much as he could. 

Then the same, the lords the States, de- 
creed, that they who held the conference at 
the Hague should on each side exhibit in 
writing the state of the controversy concern- 
ing the five articles of the Remonstrants; and 
should at the same time add their counsels, 
by what method they thought that these con- 
troversies might be most advantageously 
composed to the peace of the church and the 
good of the republic. The Remonstrants 
judged, that no more certain method of con- 
cord could be entered on, than a mutual tole- 
ration, by which each party might be per- 
mitted freely to teach and contend for his 
own opinion concerning these articles.* The 

*■ Such a toleration amounted to an entire abolition of 
the Belgic Confession and Catechism, without any pre- 
vious interference of those Synods, Classes, and Presbyte- 
ries, which were essential to their form of chureh-govern- 
ment. As if, under the name of toleration here in Eng- 
land, the whole establishment of the clmrch, without any 
reference to the authority which established it, should be 


Other pastors declared that they could not 
show a more advantageous way, than that 
as soon as possible, and on the first opportu- 
nity, a national Synod should be called to- 
gether by the authority of the Illustrious the 
High Mightinesses the States General; in 
which, these and all other controversies hav- 
ing been clearly explained and examined, it 
might be determined which opinion agreed 
with the word of God, and the common judg- 
ment of the Reformed churches, and on that 
account ought to be publicly taught; lest, by 
the agitating of discordant opinions, truth 
should be injured, or the peace of the church- 
es disturbed. 

On these counsels, the opinions of the 
Illustrious the States were various; some ap- 
proving the counsel of the Remonstrants, and 
others that of the rest of the pastors, which 
was the cause, that nothing was determined 
in this matter, by which an end might be put 
to these controversies. 

disannulled by one ro3^al or senatorial mandate; and all 
preferments in the church and Universities tiirown open 
to men of every creed and character. James tlie Second 
attempted a little in this way in order to bring in popery, 
but the dissenters in gfcncral opposed this his dispensing 
power : and few if any of modern dissenters, wlio make the 
highest claims of something above toleration, mean such a 
complete abolition of the present state of things, by the 
same despotic authority as this implied. 


Dec. 3, 1611.] But when the Illustrious 
the States had understood that, besides these 
five articles, concerning many other things 
controversies of no small importance were 
moved; in order that they might meet the 
innovations maturely, they appointed, that 
the doctrine of the holy Gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, should be most purely set forth, 
as well in the churches as in the public 
schools of these regions; and to this end, in 
the churches and in the public schools of 
Holland and West Friesland; that, concern- 
ing the perfect satisfaction of our Saviour 
Jesus Christ for our sins, concerning the jus- 
tification of man before God, concerning sav- 
ing faith and original sin, and the certitude 
of salvation, and the perfection of man in 
this life, nothing should be taught otherwise, 
than as it is every where delivered in the re- 
formed churches, and hath been hitherto de- 
livered in these provinces. In the mean- 
while, every where in the churches, discords, 
scandals, disturbances and confusions in- 
creased in a deplorable manner. For the 
Remonstrants laboured assiduously with all 
their powers, that the pastors who especially 
resisted their attempts, (the magistrates hav- 


ing been excited against them by false accu- 
sations,) should not only be cast out of their 
ministerial stations, but out of the cities 
themselves; and that on all the churches 
which were deprived of pastors, even when 
reluctant and struggling against it, those 
should be obtruded, who were addicted to 
their own opinions; all others being excluded 
wherever they were able, though excellently 
furnished with learning, piety, and necessary 
endowments, and lawfully sought out and 
called by the church.* And this was the 
cause, that the orthodox churches could not 
consider, as their lawful pastors, pastors of 
this kind; who had either oppressed and cast 
out their innocent colleagues, contrary to all 
law and justice, or who had been obtruded on 
them against their will, and who had reviled 
the doctrine of the reformed churches, in the 
most virulent sermons, daily and in a horrid 
manner; that they could not hear their ser- 
mons or partake of the Lord's supper along 
with the same; but that they chose rather to 

* The toleration whicli these men pleaded for, was pre- 
cisely like that which Papists demand as emancipation — 
that is, power and full liberty to draw over others to their 
party by every artful means, till tiiey become strong 
enougli to refuse toleration to all other men. 


go to the sermons of orthodox pastors in the 
adjacent places, though they were exposed 
to many reproaches, disgraces, and injuries 
on that account. And these were the begin- 
nings and occasions of the separations from 
the Remonstrants.* 

The church at Alcmar was the first among 
all, which was compelled to institute a sepa- 
ration of this kind. For Adolphus Venator, 
the pastor of that church, having been sus- 
pended from the office of teaching, as well 
for his too impure life, as for his most impure 
doctrine, by the churches of North Holland, 
despising the censures of the churches, ne- 
vertheless persisted in the office of teaching. 
And now that the magistracy having been 
changed, as it was used to be done every 
year, such persons liad been lawfully chosen 
as seemed least to favour his party, and on 
whose patronage he could no longer depend; 
having excited the people against the lawful 
magistracy, he effected that they (the com- 
mon people) having seized arms by sedition 

* Here was a schism begun, as several otliers have 
been : but did all the blame lie on those who separated 
from the rest? On the other hand, would such a tolera- 
tion as is here described, meet the wishes and claims of 
the advocates for toleration, who in this transaction, as in 
many others, are imposed upon by a favourite term, how- 
ever misapplied? 


would not be appeased, before the lawful 
magistracy, having abdicated themselves, 
certain others were substituted to the same, 
men estranged from the reformed religion, 
and addicted to the party of Venator. These 
men, as soon as they had been established in 
the government of the city, at Venator's in- 
stigation, at first commanded the elders and 
deacons to go out of their office; and then 
they also deprived of their ministerial sta- 
tions two pastors, because they had opposed 
themselves against the errors of Venator; of 
whom the one, Peter Cornelii, for almost 
fifty years had presided over that church 
with the greatest edification, the other, Cor- 
nelius Hillenius, a man of the most upright 
faith and life, and a very earnest {accerri- 
muni) defender of the orthodox doctrine, 
they most unworthily cast forth as driven 
out of the city. This separation (at Alcmar) 
the church at Rotterdam was compelled to 
imitate : for Nicolas Grevinchovius, when he 
saw his colleague Cornelius Gezelius most 
acceptable to the church at Rotterdam, on 
account of his singular piety, modesty, and 
sincerity, and that by his endeavours, he ve- 
hemently resisted the introduction of the doc- 
trine of the Remonstrants; procured, that by 


the magistracy of that place, he should first 
be deprived of his ministry, and then driven 
out of the city by the public beadles {lie- 
tores.)*' The pastors also of the Classis of 
Rotterdam, attached to the purity of doc- 
trine, declined holding the meetings of the 
Classis with this Grevinchovius, and others 
who had been drawn over by him to the 
opinion of the Remonstrants, when the ma- 
gistracy of Rotterdam by authority had ob- 
truded Simon Episcopius, to whom the 
church of Amsterdam in which he had lived, 
had refused to give a testimonial of doctrine 
and life, on the unwilling church of Bleys- 
wick, contrary to the preferable {potiora) 
suffrages of the pastors, INIany churches also 
in the villages, on which either Remonstrants 
had been obtruded against their will, or 
whose pastors had revolted to the Remon- 
strants, because they could not hear without 
the greatest offence, and sorrow, and pertur- 
bation of mind, those horrid railings against 
the orthodox doctrine, which were daily 

* The names both of tlie persecuted and persecuting 
pastors are given in this history ; but the names of the 
maf^istratcs who concurred in the persecution are with- 
held, in honour as it may seem of the magistracy. This 
greatly accords to the narrative in the Acts of the Apos- 



heard in their sermons, having left their tem- 
ples they either went to the sermons of the 
neighbouring orthodox pastors; or where 
these could not be had at their own villages 
they were instructed by other pastors, or by 
orthodox candidates for the ministry, in sepa- 
rated assemblies ; which when the Remon- 
strants had in vain attempted to hinder by 
the edicts of their magistrates, they excited 
no small persecution against these churches,* 
In the mean time, the lords the curators of 
the University of Leyden, by the counsel of 
the Remonstrants called M. Simon Episco- 
pius to the professorship of theology, that 
very renowned man, Dr. John Polyander, who 
had been called to the same professorship in 
the place of F. Gomarus, being unwilling 
and struggling against it. This augmented 
not a little the grief and anxiety of the 
churches; when from this it appeared, that 
it was determined by them (the curators) to 
cherish contentions in that University, and 
to establish the doctrine of the Remonstrants. 

* This was their loleration I Certainly, aecordini? to this 
history, the persecution besran on the part of the Remon- 
strants; nor does the contrary appear, that I can learn, 
from other histories. The C'ontra-Rcmonstrants appealed 
to cxistine; laws and to legal Sj'nods ; the Remonstrants 
used the illegal aid of penal edicts and secular magistrates. 


But as these evils now could scarcely any 
longer be contained within the limits of the 
churches of Holland ; this contagion at length 
pervaded in the first place, the neighbouring 
churches of Gueldria, the province of Utrecht 
and Transylvania, In the diocese of Utrecht, 
by the negligence of the pastors, the ecclesi- 
astical order seemed prostrated. And under 
the pretext of restoring it, Utenbogardus in- 
troduced into that church some Remonstrant 
pastors, and among them, one James Tauri- 
nus, a fierce and turbulent man. These (pas- 
tors) from that time gave diligence, not only 
in this city, but in the wliole province, by 
ejecting every where the orthodox pastors, 
and substituting Remonstrants in their places; 
that the doctrine of the Remonstrants alone 
should publicly prevail. But in order to es- 
tablish their cause in the same province, they 
devised a new formula of ecclesiastical gov- 
ernment, which at first had been approved 
by tlie Synod, in which Utenbogardus, the pas- 
tor of the Hague, presided, and then, through 
the endeavour of the same person, by the 
Illustrious the States of that province like- 
wise. In the fourth and fifth article of the 
second chapter, the toleration of the opinion 
of the Remonstrants, which in Holland they 


SO greatly urged was established ; where also 
the doctrine of the reformed churches is 
obliquely and odiously traduced. Finally, 
very many new things in the government of 
the churches occur every where in this for- 
mula. So that from the same it might ap- 
pear, that nothing other was proposed by 
these men, than that they might make all 
things new, not only in doctrine, but in the 
external government of the church by rites 
[gubernatione ritibus ecclesise.) 

And now also in Gueldria, the Remon- 
strants had drawn over to their party, the 
pastors of Neomagen, Bommelien and Tilan ; 
who from that time placed over the ministe- 
rial charges of the neighbouring churches, 
only men of their own opinion. And that 
they might do this with the more freedom 
and safety, Utenbogardus, Borrius, and Tau- 
rinus, going into Gueldria, when the comitia 
of the Illustrious the States were celebrated 
in the same place, with the other Remon- 
strants effected this, that in the province also, 
the ordinary and annual meeting of the Sy- 
nods should be prevented. In Transylvania 
also, some pastors, especially in the church 
of Campen and Daventer, by the endeavour 
and artifices of certain persons, had been 


drawn over to the opinion of the Remon- 
strants; who in those places thencetorth dis- 
turbed peaceable churches with new con- 

Sept. 27, 1612.] When the Belgic churches 
saw that this evil, thus crept also into the 
other provinces, was spread abroad in them; 
as they judged it to be most highly necessary 
that it should be met as soon as possible, 
neither that the remedy should be any lon- 
ger deferred, having communicated counsels 
one with another, they sent away two dele- 
gates from each of the provinces, to the Illus- 
trious the High Mightinesses the States Gen- 
eral: namely, from Gneldria, John Fontanus 
and William Baudartius; from Holland, Li- 
bertus Fraxinus and FestusHommius; from 
Zeland, Herman Frankelius and William 
Telingius; those of Utretcht refused to send 
theirs; from Friesland, Gellius Acronius and 
Godofrid Sopingius; fromTransylvania,John 
Gosmannusand John Langius; finally, from 
the state of Groningen and Omland, Corne- 
lius Hillenius and Wolfgang Agricola, who, 
together with the deputies of the church of 
Amsterdam, which was Synodal, Peter Plan- 
cius, and John Hallius, having set forth co- 
piously the difficulties and dangers of the 


churches, as well in the name of the churches 
themselves, as also most of them in the name 
of the Illustrious the States of their own pro- 
vinces, (whose letters also they set before 
them,) most strenuously requested and adjur- 
ed the Illustrious their High Mightinesses, 
the States General, that pitying the most 
afflicted state of the churches, they would at 
length seriously think concerning a remedy of 
these evils; and for that purpose at the ear- 
liest time call together a national Synod, 
(which had been) first promised many years 
before. Though most persons among the 
States General judged, that the convocation 
(of a Synod) was not to be deferred any 
longer, and even themselves urged it: yet 
because the delegates of the province of 
Utrecht were absent, and those of Holland 
and West Friesland said, that they had not 
been furnished with mandates sufficiently 
clear as to that business, by those who dele- 
gated them; the matter was put off, until the 
delegates of all the provinces had agreed to it 
by their comtnon sulTrages, which was thence- 
forth hindered from being done, by the en- 
deavour of the Remonstrants in Holland 
and Utrecht. 

In the mean time, the Remonstrants did 


not desist from strenuously promoting their 
own cause, (or cease) to court {aucupain) 
the favour of the great men to occupy the 
minds of the magistrates, to render suspected 
to the poUticians and impede all Synodical 
meetings, to seize on the vacant churches, to 
propagate their own opinion by sermons and 
public writings, to rail at the orthodox doc- 
trine with horrid calumnies, to draw over 
the people to their party, and to alienate 
them more and more from the doctrine of 
the Reformed churches. For this purpose 
they earnestly scattered pamphlets {libellos) 
in great number, among the common people, 
written in the vulgar tongue, under the 
titles of "The bells of a conflagration," 
[campanes incendiarige) "A more compress- 
ed declaration," "A more direct way," and 
others: in whicli they not only fought in de- 
fence of their own doctrine, but both excused 
Vorstius, and most atrociously, with a canine 
eloquence, canvassed the received doctrine 
of the Belgic churches, by most impudent 
calumnies, and most absurd consequences 
deduced wickedly and unjustly against the 
same. Hence bitter disputes and alterca- 
tions were excited among the people, which 
sounded throughout all places: and the minds 


also of those who were most nearly related, 
(or connected, conjunctissimorum) having 
been embittered among themselves; (with the 
great wound of charity, and the disturbance of 
the churches and of the public peace; and 
with the immense grief and offence of the 
pious,) were torn asunder in the most miser- 
able manner. And as in most of the cities, 
they had the magistracy more favourable to 
them, and could do every thing, through J. 
Utenbogardus, with the advocate of Holland, 
they insolently exulted over the churches, 
and their fellow ministers. 

In the mean while, all pious men, and 
lovers of their country and of religion, be- 
wailed and wept over this most wretched 
calamity of the churches : and when they 
could not in their mind perceive, whither at 
length these' tumults were about to grow, 
unless a remedy should be maturely applied; 
because this had not hitherto been practica- 
ble by public authority; they began seriously 
to think, whether by some other way this 
evil might at least be stopped, if it could not 
be taken away. In the first place the most 
Illustrious the count of Nassau, William 
Lewis the Governor of Friezland, according 
to his extraordinary affection toward the 


churches and the republic, privately admo- 
nished as well Utenbogardus on the one 
side, as Festus Hommius on the other; that, 
seeing the state of the republic itself griev- 
ously assaulted by these ecclesiastical con- 
tentions, they should look well to it, in a 
friendly and brotherly manner between them- 
selves, to see whether some honourable way 
might not be found out, of composing this 
most deplorable dissention, and of coming to 
an agreement. Festus declared, that if the 
Remonstrants differed from the rest of the 
pastors, in no other articles, than in those 
five concerning predestination, and the heads 
annexed to it, he thought that a way might 
be found out, in which some peace might be 
established between the parties, until the 
whole controversy should be settled by a 
national Synod. But because there were 
weighty reasons, on account of which the 
churches believed, that most of the Remon- 
strants dissented from the doctrine of the 
Belgic churches in more articles, and those 
of greater importance : neither could it be 
done, {fieri) that under the pretext of these 
five articles, they should permit or suffer the 
most grievous errors to be brought into the 
same (churches;) there did not seem any 


hope of entering into agreement with the 
Remonstrants, unless they would sincerely 
(or unreservedly, sincere) declare, that ex- 
cept these, five articles, they thought with the 
reformed Belgic churches in all the heads of 
doctrine.* Utenbogardus being interrogated 
as to these things, answered, that as far as 
he himself was concerned, lie had nothing, 
beyond these five articles, in which he dis- 
sented; and that he would be always ready 
to declare sincerely his own opinion; nor did 
he doubt, but that the most of the Remon- 
strants would do the same; and that he did 
not wish for any thing more than that, for 
this cause, a conference might be instituted 
among some pastors of a more moderate dis- 
position. And when he had repeated the 
same declaration privately to Festus at Ley- 
da, it was agreed between them, that each 
of them should procure among his own 

* As predestination, and the doctrines immediately and 
evidently connected with it, arc more readily rendered 
odious in the view of mankind in general, tlian the other 
peculiar doctrines of Christianity; at that time, as well 
as at present, it was tiie policy of those whose real and 
declared views were opposed to others of these doctrines, 
to hold out to the ])ublic, and to rulers csi)ecially, that the 
whole dispute, or dift'erence, was about election and repro- 
bation : while in refuting tliesc articles they take in a 
much wider compass. But an obnoxious word will do a 
great deal of execution, on those who have not time or 
heart to examine the matter deeply. 


friends, three pastors to be deputed on each 
side, who might in a friendly manner confer 
together, and seriously consider among them- 
selves concerning a convenient way of peace, 
which afterwards might be communicated to 
the churches, and approved by them. 

Feb. 27, A. D. 1613.] When the Illustri- 
ous the States of Holland understood that 
these counsels were privately agitated, they 
approved this their earnest endeavour, and 
commanded in the public name, that this 
conference should be held as soon as it could 
be done. Soon after, there met together, for 
this cause, in the city of Delph, on the part 
of the Remonstrants, John Utenbogardus, 
Adrian Borrius, and Nicolas Grevinchovius; 
on the part of the rest of the pastors, John 
Beccius, John Bogardus, and Festus Hom- 
mius. After that the Illustrious the States 
had, by their delegates, exhorted them seri- 
ously that laying aside all resentments and 
evil affections, they would bend the whole 
energy of their capacity, that some way of 
peace among themselves might be found; 
and had declared that this would be at the 
same time acceptable to God, and to the 
churches and all pious men, and in the first 
place to themselves the Illustrious the States; 


and when each of these pastors had testified 
that they came together with a mind most 
earnestly desirous of peace, and that they 
would bring thither all things which could 
proceed from them, in order to conciliate 
peace, an amicable conference was held by 
them. In this the Remonstrants declared, 
that they were not able to show any other 
way of peace, except a mutual toleration, as 
they called it: namely, that it should be 
freely permitted to each party, to teach pub- 
licly his own opinion, concerning those five 
articles; and they asked of the rest of the 
pastors, to declare whether they thought 
their opinion, expressed in these five arti- 
cles, to be tolerable or not. If they thought 
that it was not tolerable, (or to be tolerated,) 
it was not necessary that any further delibe- 
ration should be had, concerning the way of 
peace; as truly in their judgment, no method 
then would remain of entering into peace. 
The rest of the pastors answered, that this 
appeared to them the safest and most advan- 
tageous way of peace; that seeing they were, 
each of them, pastors of the reformed Belgic 
churches, and were desirous of being consi- 
dered as such, each party should submit its 
own cause to the lawful decision of the Bel- 


gic churches; and" that it should for that 
end and purpose, seriously and sincerely la- 
bour, that a national Synod of the reformed 
churches should be called together, as speedi- 
ly as might be, even, if it could be done, in 
the next summer, by the authority of the 
Illustrious and High Mightinesses the States 
General; in which the whole cause having 
been lawfully examined and discussed, it 
might either be determined which doctrine, 
as agreeable to the word of God, ought 
thenceforth to be taught in the churches; or 
that the plan of a toleration might be enter- 
ed into, by the suflVages of all the churches, 
of that kind which might appear proper to 
be instituted from the word of God. That 
they were ready to subject themselves to the 
judgment of the Synod, if the Remonstrants 
were willing to do the same, thus peace 
might be accomplished: but that a toleration, 
such as they had hitherto used, and such as 
they seemed to request, being circumscribed 
by no laws, could not promote the peace of 
the churches; but if they would suifer it to 
be circumscribed with fair (or honourable) 
conditions, they were ready to confer with 
them concerning the same (conditions;) pro- 
vided they would assure the churches, by 


a sincere and open declaration, that they 
thought differently from these reformed 
churches, in no other heads of doctrine ex- 
cept these five articles.* Bat since the Illus- 
trious the States, two years before, [Dec. 3, 
1611,] had by name expressed six heads of 
doctrine, concerning which they forbad to 
be taught, otherwise than it had been hither- 
to delivered to the Belgic churches, name- 
ly, concerning the perfect satisfaction of our 
Lord Jesus Christ for our sins, the justifica- 
tion of man before God, saving faith, original 
sin, the assurance (or certitude) of salvation, 
and concerning the perfection of man in this 
life ; they in the first place demanded, that 
they would declare concerning these articles, 
that they embraced the opinion expressed 
in the Confession and Catechism of these 
churches, which they the other pastors had 
comprised from the same in certain written 
theses; and that they rejected the contrary 
opinion proposed in certain anti-theses, from 

* "The demands of the Arminians were moderate; 
they required no more than a bare toleration of their rch- 
gious sentiments ; and some of the first men in tlie repub- 
lic, such as Olden Barneveldt, Grotius, Hoogerberts, and 
several others, looked upon this demand as just and rea- 
sonable." (Mosheim, vol. v. p. 442.) " This toleration wras 
offered to them in the conference holden at the Hague in 
1611, provided they would renounce the errors of Socini- 
anism." Note by Maclaine. 


the writings of Arminius, Bertius, Vorstius, 
Venator, and others. The Remonstrants re- 
plied (regesserunt) to this, that they could 
not see in what manner these controversies 
could be quieted (sopiri) by a national Sy- 
nod; and truly in the present state of things, 
that they neither approved nor demanded its 
convocation: that this cause could not be 
helped by synodal decisions; nor did they 
think that Holland, in the concern of religion, 
would ever submit itself to tl/e decisions of 
the other provinces. As to the declaration 
which was demanded, they would communi- 
cate with the other Remonstrants concerning 
the same: and when, on each side, they had 
comprised briefly in writing their own opin- 
ion, they departed, the business being left 
unfinished.* Afterwards the Illustrious the 
States called Utenbogardus and Festus to 
them, that they might know from them what 

* The event was what might previously have been ex- 
pected; indeed nothing else could come of such a confer- 
ence, between parties whose sentiments were so entirely 
discordant (2 Cor. vi. 16 — 18.) The toleration demanded 
by the Remonstrants was in direct opposition to the exist- 
ing laws, grounded on private or partial authority at best ; 
like King James's claim of the dispensing power over acts 
of parliament in matters of religion, and indeed it amounted 
to a private repeal of those laws. The others were wil- 
ling to consent to a legal and limited toleration. It is also 
evident t!iat their firm decision and opposition was not 
mainly about predestination and reprobation. 


had been done in this conference at Delph, 
and what hopes shone forth of concord being 
entered on. Festus sincerely and without 
disguise (nudegue) related what had been 
done, and declared, that hope of peace shone 
forth, only provided the Remonstrants would 
openly declare their opinion on the articles 
delivered to them. Utenbogardus, by courtly 
craftiness, had procured that he should be 
heard alone, Festus being absent; that he 
might the more freely propose the things 
which he thought would serve his own pur- 
pose. And when he had odiously traduced 
the proceedings of the rest of the pastors, as 
the persons who, by the demand of a decla- 
ration, (which yet before the conference he 
himself had promised,) endeavoured to bring 
a new inquisition into the churches, and one 
by no means to be endured, obtained, that 
the same persons should be forbidden any 
more to demand this declaration from the 
Remonstrants: and moreover, that it should 
at the same time be enjoined on them to ex- 
plain more at large in writing, their counsel 
on the best way of peace, and concerning the 
conditions, by which they thought that a tole- 
ration should be circumscribed. When this 
had been done by them, and it had also been 


shown, that the proposed theses concerning 
which a declaration had been demanded, 
were extant, in so many words, in the Con- 
fession and Catechism of the Belgic churches: 
and the antitheses themselves had been de- 
livered in public writings, by many persons, 
with whom the Remonstrants had much 
communication, in these regions:* when this 
their writing had been publicly read, they 
(the Remonstrants) by their advocate effect- 
ed that it should be severely forbidden, to be 
communicated to any of the human race, 
either in printing, or as written by the hand 
of any one. And because they saw, that the 
deputies of the churches, or of the Synods, 
to whom the common cause of these con- 
cerns used to be committed, greatly with- 
stood them, (as the nature of their office de- 
manded,) they caused also, that, as before all 
the annual Synods had been hindered, so 
that it should likewise be forbidden to the 
same persons, henceforth to use the name, or 

* 3Iosheim and many (indeed, most) other writers on 
the subject, represent the Contra-Remonstrants, as aim- 
ing to impose the creed of Geneva, or of Calvin, on the 
Remonstrants in Belgium. Let the impartial reader judge 
whether this was the real case. There might be, and in- 
deed was some coincidence between this and the Con- 
fession and Catechism of the Bclgie churches, but the lat- 
ter exclusively are mentioned in the whole contest. 



perform the office, of a deputy of the church- 
es or of a Synod. That, by this means, all 
care respecting the safety and peace of the 
churches being taken away, they (the Re- 
monstrants) might so much the more freely 
make progress among them/* 

By this method of acting, the Remon- 
strants rendered themselves more and more 
suspected by the churches; while all the 
more prudent men judged that, unless they 
dissented in these articles (the six stated 
above, p. 70, 71,) from the doctrine of the 
churches, they would have had no reason, 
why they should covertly flee from tiiis de- 
claration; especially when they might have 
(thus) promoted {consult posset) the peace of 
the churches and their own credit. But that 
they might the more easily obtain that tole- 

* These decrees were made by the States of Holland 
alone, or nearly; and they directly tended to disannul the 
code of laws of the federated .provinces, promulgcd by 
the States General of tl'icse provinces, and thus to dis- 
solve their political, as well as relinrious union. Now 
what motives could the Remonstrants or their patrons 
have, in such circumstances, ibr so carefully concealing 
the statements and avowed sentiments of the other pas- 
tors ? Impartial love of the truth could not possibly sug- 
gest such precautions and injunctions. They cannot- but 
call to our recollection, the conduct of the Jewish priests 
and rulers respecting the apostles of Christ: "But that it 
sjjrcad no further among the people, let us straitly 
threaten them, that they speak to no man i,n this name." 
(Acts. iv. 16, 17.) 


ration by public authority which they always 
pressed; by the benefit of which they indeed 
hoped to be able by little and little, to intro- 
duce their own doctrine in the churches, they 
employed this artifice; they sent over into 
England, by Hugo Grotius, a certain writing, 
in which the true state of the controversy 
was dissembled, a copy of a letter being also 
annexed; and they requested, that he would 
petition from the most Serene James, King 
of Great Britain, seeing this cause could not 
be settled by any other method than by a 
toleration, that his most Serene royal Ma- 
jesty would deign to give letters according to 
the form of the annexed copy, to the Illus- 
trious the High Mightinesses the States Ge- 
neral; which he, (Grotius) having seized on 
an opportunity, surreptitiouslyobtained, and 
transmitted them to thfe Ilhistiious the States 

On this occasion, the Remonstrants exulted 
after a wonderful manner, and, hoping that 
they might now becotne possessed of their 

* It should be noted, this narrative was published 
several years before the death of James; who, therefore, it 
must be presumed, was willino- to have it thoujjhi that these 
letters were surreptitiously obtained bv Grotius: and in- 
deed he seems to have been envcig'led into a measure, by 
no means consistent with the part which he afterwards 
sustained in the controversy. 


wish, they laboured by their advocate, that 
a certain formula of a toleration, (the same 
indeed which is contained in the fourth and 
fifth articles of the second chapter of the 
ecclesiastical government of Utrecht,) should 
be confirmed by the authority of the Illus- 
trious the States, and commanded to the 
churches. Though the minds of many, in 
the convention of the States were inclined to 
this, yet the more prudent strenuously op- 
posed it; thinking it to be unjust, to com- 
mand (authoritatively) on the churches, a 
toleration, as to articles of faith, which had 
never been duly examined in a lawful eccle- 
siastical convention, and which drew with 
them a manifest change in doctrine; neither 
could the peace of the churches be obtained 
by this, when it was to be feared, if it were 
permitted, that opinions so discordant, should 
be proposed from the same pulpit to the same 
congregations, that the churches should be 
more and more disturbed, as experience had 
hitherto taught.* Yet the Remonstrants 

* Let it be recollected, tliat all the parties were pro- 
fessedly, and many of tiicm, in jiidffment and conscience, 
strict Presbyterians as to churcli-g^ovcrnmcnt. The tole- 
ration, here described, is entirely diftcrent trom any thing 
known in Britain, or indeed at present tiiought of. 'I'he 
general sentiment even of those who. claim not only the 
fullest toleration, but something beyond toleration, as their 


went on to press this their toleration by 
every means, and to commend it privately 
and publicly in their writings and sermons; 
especially by this argument, that the articles, 
concerning which the controversy was main- 
tained, they said, were of so small import- 
ance, that they did not relate to the ground 
or fundamental points of salvation; but in 
articles of this kind, toleration might and 
ought to be established. 

July 25, 1614.] And thus they at length 
effected, that a decree concerning this tolera- 
tion, some of the principal and powerful 
cities of Holland and West Friezland being 
unwilling and striving against it, should be 
published in print, confirmed with certain 
testimonies of Scripture and of the fathers 
(among whom they had also brought for- 

indisputable right, is, at least, " Separate places of worship 
for those of discordant opinions." The ground of the tole- 
ration here stated likewise, is widely ditferent from that 
which is at present insisted on ; namely, fhat in matters 
of conscience towards God, no human authority has a right 
to interfere, provided nothing be avowed or done, which 
threatens or disturbs the peace of the community ; and that 
human authority can make only hypocrites, not willing 
and conscientious conformists. This is simple, intelligible, 
and evidently reasonable; but to tolerate exclusively opi- 
nions, which do not relate to the fundamerdals of salvation, 
or mililatc against them, must make way for intricate and 
endless disputes and ditlicultics, about what are and what 
are not the fundamentals of salvation; what is tolerated, 
and what is not tolerated. 


ward Faustus Regiensiensis, the leader of 
the Semi-Pelagians.) Against Avhich things, 
when James Triglandius, a pastor of the 
church at Amsterdam, had answered in a 
public writing, Utenbogardus also prolixly 
attempted a defence of this decree. In this 
he, bv unworthy methods, traduced and re- 
viled, as well the doctrine of the reformed 
churches, as especially the lights of the same, 
Calvin, Beza, Zanchius, and others. To this 
writing, Triglandius opposed an accurate an- 
swer, in defence of the honour, both of the 
doctrine and the doctors of the reformed 
churches. And when they, (the Remon- 
strants) saw that the authority of this writ- 
ing, to which they had given the name of a 
decreeof-the States, -was not so great, as that 
by it they, could attain to what- they aimed 
at, they indicated that the same things must 
be attempted in another way; and for that 
purpose, a certain other formula of toleration 
having been devised in deceitful phrases, 
they, by the hands of certain persons, who 
secretly favoured their party and opinions, 
but were not considered as Remonstrants, 
solicited from the pastors, subscription to 
this formula, every where throughout Hol- 
land, both privately and in their convention. 


But when even in this way the business 
did not go on according to the purpose of 
their own mind; they judged, that those per- 
sons must be compelled (cogendos) by the 
authority of the superiors, whom they were 
not able to persuade to this, and that at length 
some time it must be broken through, and 
this business evidently accomplished. To 
this end they likewise obtained, that in the 
name of the Illustrious the States, the decree 
concerning mutual toleration, which had been 
published in the former year, should be sent 
to each of the Classes, and at the same time 
it should be enjoined on the pastors to obey 
.the same without any contradiction. And 
that they might the more easily prefer those 
who were attached to their parly, to the min- 
istries of the churches, others having been 
excluded; they effected moreover that an- 
other (decree) should be joined to it, by 
which it was permitted, that in the vocation 
of pastors and elders, it should be allowable 
to use that order, which in the year 1591 had 
been framed, but not approved; from the 
prescribed rule, of which the election was 
appointed to be by four of the magistracy, 
and four others to be deputed from the pres- 
bytery. When these decrees had been trans- 


mitted to the Classes, the most of them sent 
away their deputies to the Illustrious the 
States, that they might publicly explain their 
difficulties or grievances, which they had as 
to those things, that were contained in the 
writing; and might deprecate the introduc- 
tion of the same. When on this account 
they had come to the Hague, and had now 
learned from the delegates of the principal 
cities, that those decrees, though they had 
already been transmitted, had not as yet been 
confirmed by the customary {solemi) appro- 
bation of all the States; and therefore could 
not as yet obtain the force of a law; they 
judged, that they must desist from the design 
till they should be further pressed. But this 
last decree gave occasion to new contentions 
and disturbances in many places, especially 
in the church at Harlem. For when some 
magistrates determined, that ministers should 
be called, according to this new form, and 
(thus) called them, but the churches did not 
approve it; it came to pass, that they refused 
to acknowledge those who had been thus 
called as their lawful pastors, and to have 
any ecclesiastical communion with them. It 
was also effected by these decrees, that cer- 
tain Classes in Holland, which had hitherto 


preserved unity, in the government of the 
churches, with the Remonstrants for the sake 
of peace, were now torn away from them 
{(livelier entur,) because the most of the pas- 
tors could not approve these things: yet as 
the Rermonstrants purposed that the churches 
should be governed according to the pre- 
script and law of these decrees, but were 
not able to extort this from their fellow min- 
isters by authority, they introduced into the 
conventions of the Classes certain political 
persons, mostly alienated from the reformed 
religion, and attached to their party, and 
brought dominion into the churches. For 
the orthodox pastors, tired out by the con- 
tentions which from these causes daily arose 
with the Remonstrants, judged it to be better, 
to meet together apart without them, and to 
take care of their own churches in peace, 
than to be wearied with their perpetual con- 

In the mean time Utenbogardus procured, 
that it should be enjoined on his colleagues, 
by the authority of the superiors, to obey 
these decrees also; which when his col- 
league Henry Rosaius said that he could not 
promise with a good conscience; he was sus- 
pended from his office of teaching by the au- 


thority of the same persons, and by the sin- 
ister instigation of Utenbogardus.* Thence 
the members of the church at the Hague, 
who loved the purity (sincerilatem) of the 
reformed doctrine, continued the exercise of 
their reUgion; at first indeed in the neigh- 
bouring village of Risverch, but, when the 
pastors had obtained it by loan from the 
other churches at the Hague, in a separate 
place of worship [tejnplo) to which after- 
wards some of the chief persons out of the 
States themselves, and the counsellors of the 
courts, and the other colleagues, and the most 
Illustrious the Prince of Orange himself, and 
the most Generous Count William Ludovi- 
cus, leaving the assemblies of the Remon- 
strants, resorted, that they might testify their 
consent to the orthodox doctrine, and their 
strong attachment to the same. The Re- 
monstrants odiously traduced this separa- 
tion under the title of schism,! and endea- 
voured by all methods to hinder or to punish 
it: labouring in the mean while, that these 

* Whatever pretensions were made to toleration by the 
Remonstrants, it is from this most evident, that they paid 
no due regard to the ri'j^hts of conscience, the proper jrrouud 
of all toleration. 

t It commenced nearly as most other schisms have 
done; but all the blame did not rest on those stigmatized 
as schismatics, nor even the greatest measure of it. 


decrees should be authoritatively put in ex- 
ecutioii ill every place, where they knew 
that the magistrate favoured them. On 
which account, when many pious men were 
punished by fines, prisons, and banishments, 
they appealed to the supreme tribunal of jus- 
tice, and implored assistance against force; 
and when now the most ample the Senators 
of the supreme court attempted to succour 
the oppressed, they (the Remonstrants) ob- 
tained by the advocate of Holland, that an 
interdict should be laid on the same court, 
from protecting them.* 

March, a. d. 161G.] But when many also 
and principal cities of Holland, and in the 
first place among them the most powerful 
city of Amsterdam, opposed the execution of 
these decrees, it was effected that Hugo Gro- 
tius with certain persons should be sent to 
Amsterdam, in order that by his eloquence 
he might persuade the most ample the Sen- 
ate of that city to approve the same decrees. 
When he had attempted this with a prolix 

* What must the modern advocates for toleration, and 
more than toleration, tliink of that toleration which these 
men pleaded for, while tiius employed in perseeulion ; and 
who have rendered their opponents odious even to this 
day, as enemies to toleration, for rejecting their legal 
measures ! 


oration, it was answered by tlie most ample 
the Senate; That they could by no means 
approve that, passing by the lawful synodi- 
cal conventions, it should be deliberated in a 
convention of the States, concerning ecclesi- 
astical affairs, that decrees should be made, 
and the execution of those decrees enjoined 
by authority : That it was purposed by them, 
that the true Christian religion, the exercise 
of which had flourished during fifty years in 
these regions, should be preserved; they 
judged also that even the least change would 
be pernicious to the republic, unless it had 
been first maturely examined by a lawful 
Synod; and further, they could not assent to 
the different propositions and acts made from 
the year 1611, even to the eighteenth of 
March of this year 1€16, nor to this last pro- 
position; neither were they wilHng, that un- 
der the name of the city of Amsterdam, (when 
it was no feeble member of that convention 
of the States,) any decrees sliould be esta- 
blished, much less authoritatively carried 
into execution, or any tiling decreed against 
those who professed the reformed religion, 
unless controversies, and changes in religion, 
and in ecclesiastical affairs, had been first ex- 
amined and discussed in lawful Synods, by 


the authority of the Illustrious the States. 
But neither were they wiUing, that pastors 
who were attached to the opinion of the re- 
formed religion defended by the Contra-Re- 
monstrants, should in the mean time on that 
account, either be suspended or removed 
from their ministerial offices; because they 
declared that they could not conscientiously 
cultivate ecclesiastical unity with the Re- 
monstrants: neither that the churches which 
followed the same opinion, should, under 
the pretext of Schism, or because accord- 
ing to conscience, they were reluctant to 
attend on the sermons of the Remonstrants, 
be hindered in the exercise. of divine wor- 
ship. And all these things they determined, 
until by the authority of the Illustrious the 
States, a lawful Synod should be convened, 
in which these controversies might be duly 
examined and discussed. Thus the labour 
and endeavour of the Remonstrants, and of 
those who favoured them, were in vain; es- 
pecially because the magistrates of the most 
ample city of Dort, of Enchuse, of Edamen, 
and of Purmerend, publicly approved this 
determination of the Senate of Amsterdam.* 

* As no intimation is here given of molesting the Re- 
monstrants, either pastors or churches, but merely of pre- 


About this time, the pastors of Camp in 
Transylvania, having embraced the opinion 
of the Remonstrants, by the assistance of the 
magistracy, cast out of the ministry their most 
learned colleague, and most tenacious of 
sound doctrine, William Stephanus, because 
he opposed their attempts; and by pamphlets 
published, and by public sermons full of ca- 
lumnies, they endeavoured to bring the re- 
formed religion into the hatred of the com- 
mon people. 

March, a. d. 1617.] When, on account 
of these innovations in doctrine, and the dis- 
turbances of the churches, and of the state 
which followed, they saw that they were 
rendered more and more odious, they pre- 
sented. a second Remonstrance to the Illus- 
trious the States, in which, with incredible 
impudence, they endeavour to remove from 
themselves the crime of innovation, and to 
fasten the same on those pastors who most 
constantly remained in the received doctrine 
of these churches." And the rest of the pas- 
venting the Contru-Rcnionstrants from being molested, till 
a Synod were held; this decision of the Senate of Amster- 
dam, contnins more of tlie spirit of toleration than any 
thing whieh wc have yet met with. 

* Either this whole narrative is false throughout, or 
this attempt was made with eonsuminate effrontepy : not 
indeed incredible, because other innovators, both ancient 


tors presented likewise to the Illustrious the 
States a copious and solid answer to it. But, 
whereas these long continued controversies 
had already brought not into the churches 
only, but the republic likewise, so great a 
mass of difficulties, perturbations, and con- 
fusions, that all who loved the safety of 
the federated provinces, or of the reformed 
churches which are in them, or who favour- 
ed the same, understood that the remedy of 
these evils could no longer be deferred with- 
out the manifest danger of the state and of 
the churches; and yet the Illustrious the 
States had not been able hitherto to agree as 
to the kind of remedy: J^mes I., the most 
powerful and Serene king of -Great Britain, 
out of his singular and sinceVe affection to- 
wards these regions and churches, thought, 
tliat the lUustrious and most powerful the 
States General should be admonished by let- 
ters, no longer to suffer this gangrene to feed 
upon the body of the republic: but that 
they should, as soon as possible, proceed to 
meet these unhappy contentions, divisions, 

and modern, have endeavoured, and with success, to fasten 
the cliarge of innovation on those who most steadily abode 
by tlie doctrine of articles, &.c. subscribed by ail parties. 
But nothing is incredible, of whicli several undeniable in- 
stances may be adduced. 


schisms, and factions, which threatened ma- 
nifest danger to the state. And at the same 
time he obtested them, that they would res- 
tore to its original purity, all errors having 
been extirpated, the true and ancient reform- 
ed doctrine, which they had always profess- 
ed, which had been confirmed by tlie com- 
mon consent of all the reformed churches, 
and which had been always the foundation 
and bond of that most strict friendship and 
conjunction, which had so long flourished 
between his kingdoms and these provinces;, 
and which he judged might be done, of all 
means the most advantageously, by a nati- 
onal Synod, to be called together by their 
authority. For indeed this was the ordi- 
nary, legitimate, and most efficacious reme- 
dy, whidi had been had recourse to in every 
age, in evils of this kind among Christians. 
But moreover the most Illustrious Maurice, 
prince of Orange, the governor of federated 
Belgium, as often before this, so now did not 
desist daily, in a most solemn and weighty 
manner, to obtest, as well the Illustrious and 
most powerful the States General, and also 
the Illustrious the States of Holland and 
West Friezland, that in proportion as the 
safety of the republic and the churches was 


dear lo them, so they would give dihgent en- 
deavours that a remedy, as soon as possible, 
might be applied to these most grievous 
evils. For this purpose he also commanded, 
and pressed upon them, the convocation of 
a national Synod, as the most ordinary and 
the safest remedy. 

The Illustrious the States of Zeland also, 
by the most noble and ample men, D. JNIal- 
derccus, Brouwerus, Potterus, and Bonifa- 
dus Junius, solemnly warned and entreated 
the Illustrious the orders of Holland and 
West Friezland, in their convention, that, 
seeing the contentions and dissensions grew 
more and more grievous every day, with the 
greatest danger of the republic; and many 
remedies had hitherto been tried in vain; 
that they would agree to the convoking of a 
national Synod, as the ordinary remedy pro- 
posed by the Holy Spirit for evils of this 
kind, and always had recourse to by Chris- 
tians.* Then likewise the Illustrious the 

* It has, I believe, been generally supposed, that the 
Synod of Dort was convened liy a faction or party, and for 
party ends and purposes; but it seems undeniable, that it 
iiecamc tlic general and almost universal opinion of the dif- 
ferent States in the confederated provinces, that such a 
national Synod as the Contra-Rcmonstrants always had 
urgently requested, was become absolutely and indispen- 
sab'y needful; and that the Remonstrants and their party 


214 H I STOR Y OF 

States of Gueldria, Friezland, Groningen, 
and Oniland, requested the like thing by 
their deputies of the same the Illustrious the 
States (General.) 

But when the Remonstrants saw, that the 
convoking of a national Synod was recom- 
mended with so great earnestness by kings 
and princes, and the neighbouring and fede- 
rated republics, yea, and also by the prin- 
cipal cities of Holland and West Friezland; 
and when they feared lest the States of Hol- 
land and West Friezland, of whom many of 
their own accord inciitied to it, and promoted 
this business diligently, should, at length be 
moved to this consent; and so, that at some 
time, an account must be rendered of their 
doctrine and actions before the ecclesiastical 
tribunals; in order to avoid this, they at first 
proposed a new way of settling tlie contro- 
versies: namely, that a few persons, both 

could no longfct resist this generally pievaiiincf sentiment. 
Indeed nothings can be more clear, than that all parties, 
except the zealous Remonstrants, regarded a national Sy- 
nod as the proper and only effectual way of terminating 
the controversial disturbances; and not only sanctioned by 
the example of Christians in every ago, but enjoined by 
God himself. How tiir they were vvarranlcd in this senti- 
nient, constitut.s a distinct question. Tlic Synod of Dort, 
however, should nut be judged by oar modern opinions, 
but by the general opinion of that age. The reasons why 
the Uemonstrauts dissented from tliat opinion are very 


political and ecclesiastical, of a certain and 
equal number, should be chosen by the Illus- 
trious the States of Holland and West Friez- 
land, who, having communicated counsels 
with each other, might devise some method 
of peace and concord, which, having been 
approved by the Illustrious the States, might 
then be prescribed to the churches. But 
when this did not succeed, (because, the 
more prudent easily foresaw, from whom, 
and of what kind of persons, this convention 
would be instituted, and what was to be 
expected from it; and besides, that it was 
unprecedented in the churches, and very little 
suited for taking away ecclesiastical contro- 
versies in things pertaining to doctrine,) they 
thought that the most extreme measures must 
be tried, rather than be reduced to this ne- 
cessity, and accordingly recourse was had 
to the most desperate counsels. For some 
of the chief persons (or nobles, proceribus) 
were persuaded by them, that the calling of 
a national Synod, which was then pleaded 
for, was adverse to the majesty and liberty 
of the provinces: for that each province pos- 
sessed the supreme right of determining 
about religion, as it should seem good to it: 
that it was an unworthy thing to subject this 


their liberty to the judgment of other pro- 
vinces; (and) that this right of majesty was 
to be defended by all means, even by arms. 
By these and similar arguments, the minds 
of the more imprudent were so stirred up, 
that the rulers of some cities, having made a 
conspiracy, decreed to levy soldiers, who 
should be bound by oath, neither to the most 
powerful the States General, nor to the Illus- 
trious the Prince of Orange, the Commander 
in chief of the army, but to themselves alone, 
for the defence of the cause of the Remon- 
strants, and of their own authority; which 
for the sake of the same (cause) they had 
exposed to danger. This was done at 
Utrecht, in which city the most powerful 
the States General had a garrison sufficiently 
strong against tumults and seditions; at Har- 
lem, Leyda, Rotterdam, as also Gouda, 
Schookhove, Horn, and other places; the 
Remonstrants instigating the magistrates of 
the cities to this, as may be clearly proved 
by divers of their letters, which afterwards 
came into (the) hands (of the States.) And 
thus the dissensions of the Remonstrants 
would have brought these flourishing pro- 
vinces into the danger of a civil war, if this 
madness had not been early repressed, by 


the singular prudence of the most powerful 
the States General, and by the vigilance and 
fortitude of mind, never to be sufficiently 
celebrated {depredicanda) of the Illustrious 
the Prince of Orange.* 

The most powerful the States General, 
when they saw, that by this method, the 
provinces were brought into extreme danger, 
judged, that the calling of a national Synod 
must no longer be delayed, but be hastened 
at the earliest opportunity; especially when 
that most illustrious man, Dudley Carleton, 
the ambassador of the most Serene King of 
Great Britain, by a very weighty and pru- 
dent speech, had earnestly stirred up their 
Illustrious Highnesses to the same. This 
oration the Remonstrants afterwards were 
not afraid publicly to revile, in a most im- 
pudent and most calumniating pamphlet, to 
which they gave the title oi Bilancis; spa- 

* How far tlic suliscqucnt proceedings agfainst the Re- 
monstrants, arc to he considered simply as reli<rious per- 
secution, may well be (Questioned, wlien such seditious, if 
not treasonable practices, were proved against them from 
their own letters. It seems evident from this history, that 
recourse to arms, in the first instance at least, was had by 
the party of the Remonstrants, and in opposition to existing 
laws. This is not generally understood. The rights of 
conscience, and the toleration arising from the recognition 
of it, seem to have been equally unthought of by both 



ring with a slanderous tongue no order of 
men, not the most powerful the States, not 
the Prince of Orange, yea, not even the most 
Serene the King of Great Britain. This 
pamphlet, the most powerful the States Gen- 
eral condemned by a public edict as scanda- 
lous and seditious; having offered a most 
ample reward, if any one could point out the 
author. Afterwards Jo. Casimirus Junius, 
the son of the most celebrated Francis Ju- 
nius, not unlike his father, [hand degener,) 
copiously refuted the same. Therefore the 
Illustrious and most powerful the States, de- 
creed the convoking of a national Synod, at 
length in the name of the Lord, to beheld 
on the first day of May in the following year; 
and at the same time, they enacted some 
laws, according to which they willed as well 
that the convocation should be instituted, as 
the Synod itself held. But because the Re- 
monstrants did not appear greatly to regard 
the judgment of the Belgic churches, and 
had always endeavoured to persuade the 
people, that they did not dissent from the 
opinion of the reformed churches; it seemed 
good also, to their Illustrious Mightinesses, 
to invite, from all the reformed churches of 
the neighbouring kingdoms, principalities, 


and republics, some theologians, distinguish- 
ed for piety, learning, and prudence, that 
they might support by their judgments and 
counsels the deputies of the Belgic churches; 
and that so these controversies, having been 
examined and thoroughly discussed, as it were 
by the common judgment of all the reformed 
churches, might be composed so much the 
more certainly, happily, safely, and with the 
greater benefit. 

Dec. 11, 1617.] This decree having been 
made, the Remonstrants began in a wonder- 
ful manner to make disturbances, and pro- 
posed various other projects {conceptibus) 
by those who were attached to their cause, 
in endeavouring to overturn it and render it 
of no effect: in Holland indeed, they them- 
selves, by their favourers, demanded a pro- 
vincial Synod, against which a little while 
ago they had entertained so strong an aver- 
sion {tantopere abhorrrierant.) And because 
measures had been devised for calling for- 
eign theologians to the national Synod, they 
thought that to this provincial Synod, if so 
it seemed, good, some foreign theologians 
might be (invited.) But it was answered, 
that indeed a provincial Synod had formerly 
been demanded by the churches of Holland, 



when no hope appeared of obtaining a na- 
tional Synod, and when the controversies 
were confined within the boundaries of the 
churches of Holland alone: but now, be- 
cause the calling of a national Synod had 
been decreed, and the evil had diffused itself 
through all the provinces, so that it could 
not be taken away by the Synod of one pro- 
vince, it was at this time altogether unrea- 
sonable to think of a provincial Synod, for the 
composing of these controversies. Because, 
in like manner, as it behoved particular Sy- 
nods, in each of the provinces, to precede 
the national Synod; so in Holland also, both 
North and South (Holland) particular Sy- 
nods would precede. Yet the Remonstrants, 
by their favourers, pressed eagerly and urged 
such a Synod: either, because they thought, 
that it would less obstruct their cause, as 
they had in Holland so many great men and 
even pastors fav,ouring them; or that they 
might by this tergiversation absolutely hin- 
der the calling of the national Synod. But 
when they themselves saw, that this demand 
was too unjust for them easily, to persuade 
(the granting of) it; they lied to a new excep- 
tion, and desired (or proposed) that this cause 
should be deferred, (or reserved) to a general 


council {ceaitmenicam.) But it was answered 
them, that it was most uncertain, whether 
or when a general council could be called; 
yet, that these evils required a present re- 
medy, and that this national (Synod) about 
to be called by the Illustrious and most pow- 
erful the States General, would be as it were 
an oecumenical and general (council;) when 
deputies from almost all the reformed church- 
es would be present at the same. If they 
should account themselves aggrieved by the 
judgment of such a Synod, it would always 
be entire and lawful to them to appeal from 
this national to a general council ; provided 
only, that in the mean time they obeyed the 
judgment of the national Synod. By these 
evasions and subterfuges they effected, that 
the letters of convocation were for some little 
time delayed; and it was necessary that the 
day appointed for the meeting should be 
changed and deferred.* 

In the mean while that most illustrious 
person, Dudley Carleton, in the convention 

* Tlie conduct of the Remonstrants, on tliis occasion, 
evidently resembled that of an accused person, wlio, in- 
stead of demanding a fair trial, objects to the autliority of 
the court, challenges the jurymen, and endeavours to find 
out flaws in the indictment, and adopts every evasion to 
escape the trial, which can be suggested by his solicitor 
or counsel. 



of the Illustrious and most powerful the 
States General, publicly complained, that the 
honour of his master, the most Serene the 
King of Great Britain, had been very un- 
worthily and impudently reviled, in the infa- 
mous libel (or pamphlet) Bilancis, which 
the Remonstrants, even after the edict of 
their Highnesses, had taken care should be 
printed again, having been translated into 
the French language: and having briefly 
and solidly refuted most of the objections of 
the Remonstrants, he explained to the Illus- 
trious and most powerful the States General, 
what method the most powerful King of 
Great Britain was accustomed to employ, in 
settling controversies concerning religion or 
doctrine; which, because it agreed with the 
decree of the Illustrious the States General, 
it more and more confirmed their Illustrious 
Highnesses in this holy determination. The 
most ample also the Magistracy of the city 
of Amsterdam, having communicated coun- 
sel previously with the pastors of -that church, 
and others called together for this cause, pro- 
pounded in writing many and very weighty 
reasons, in the convention of the Illustrious 
the States of Holland and West Friezland, 
in which it was most evidently demonstrated, 


that these controversies could not be deter- 
mined at this season by any other method, 
than by a national Synod; at the same time 
they most solidly answered all the objections 
of the Remonstrants, and all their projects, 
concerning a provincial Synod, and also con- 
cerning a general council. Soon after, like- 
wise, the most ample the Magistracy of the 
city of Enchusen, having exhibited many 
reasons, in writing also, approved the same. 
These reasons were afterwards made public; 
that it might be evident to all men, how un- 
justly the Remonstrants and their favourers 
acted, because they obstinately resisted the 
calling of a national Synod, by these new 
projects, and eluded [subterfugere7it) its 

The Illustrious the States General, as they 
judged that this thing so entirely necessary, 
and for the most just and weighty causes 
already decreed, was not to be any longer 
delayed, on account of projects and shiftings 
of this kind; again decreed, that the convo- 
cation of a national Synod, without any delay 
or adjournment, should be immediately in- 
stituted; and they determine, that the city 
Dordrecht (or Dort) should be the place of 
its meeting; the day, the first of the next 


November. When some persons among (he 
States of Holland and West Friezland, fa- 
vouring the cause of the Remonstrants, op- 
posed themselves to this decree, in the con- 
vention of the Illustrious and most powerful 
the States General, who complained, that an 
injury was done to the majesty, the right, 
and finally, the liberty of that province; the 
Illustrious and most powerful the States Ge- 
neral, declared by public letters, that they 
did not purpose, by this convocation of a 
national Synod, that any thing should be 
taken away from, or lessened in the majesty, 
right, or liberty, of any province; but that 
this was the sincere intention of their High- 
nesses, that without any prejudice of any 
province, and even of the union and confe- 
deration, by the ordinary decision of a na- 
tional Synod, the ecclesiastical controversies 
alone that had arisen concerning doctrine, 
which pertained to all the reformed Belgic 
churches, shonid lawfully be determined to 
the glory of God, and the peace of the re- 
public and of the churches. They then ad- 
dressed letters to the States of each of the 
provinces, in which they declared, that it had 
been determined by them, to call together, 
in the name of the Lord, from all the 


churches of these provinces a national Sy-^ 
nod, on the first of November ensuing; that 
by this method the controversies which had 
arisen in the same churches, might be law- 
fully examined and settled in a beneficial 
manner, (truth being always preserved.) At 
the same time they admonished them, that 
as soon as they could, they would call a pro- 
vincial Synod in their own provinces, after 
the accustomed manner; from which six 
pious and learned men, and greatly loving 
peace; namely, three or four pastors, with 
two or three other proper persons, professing 
the reformed religion, might be deputed, who 
in the aforementioned national Synod, ac- 
cording to the laws constituted by them, (a 
copy of which they transmitted,) might exa- 
mine those controversies and take them away, 
truth being preserved, (or safe, salva veri- 
tate.) To the Gallo-Belgic churches also (of 
French Flanders,) which used to constitute a 
peculiar Synod among themselves, seeing 
they had been dispersed through all these 
provinces, they addressed letters of the same 
kind. These letters having been received, 
the Illustrious the States of each of the pro- 
vinces, called together the provincial or par- 
ticular Synods of their own churches; in 



which the grievances might be proposed 
which were to be carried to the national 
Synod, the persons to be sent out to the same 
be deputed, and the commands with which 
these were to be furnished, framed by the 
common suffrages of the churches. These 
things were transacted in each of the pro- 
vinces, in the manner hitherto in use in these 
reformed churches; except that in Holland 
and in the province of Utrecht, because of 
the very great number of the Remonstrants, 
the customary method could not in all things 
be observed. For when in Holland separa- 
tions had been made in some of the Classes, 
so that the Remonstrants held their own 
Class-meetings apart, and the other pastors 
theirs also; it seemed proper to the most 
Illustrious the States of that province, that of 
the Classes, in which a separation of this 
kind had not been made, four should be de- 
puted by the majority of votes, in the manner 
hitherto customary, who with the ordinary 
power might be sent forth to the particular 
Synod; but in the other Classes, for the sake 
of avoiding confusion, the Remonstrants 
should appoint two, and the other pastors in 
like manner two, who migiit be sent with 
equal power to the particular Synod. In the 


province of Utrecht, the churches had not 
been distributed into certain Classes: where- 
fore it pleased the most Illustrious the States 
of that province, that all the Remonstrants 
should meet together apart in one Synod ; 
but the rest of the pastors, who did not follow 
the opinion of the Remonstrants, of whom 
there still remained no small number, in an- 
other (Synod ;) and that from each Synod and 
party, three should be sent forth to the na- 
tional Synod with the power of judging. 
But the church of Utrecht, as it had been 
torn asunder into parties, of which the one 
followed the opinion of the Remonstrants, 
but the other disapproved of it; and this 
(party) recently set at liberty from the op- 
pression of the Remonstrants, had not made 
provision for stated pastors, but used at that 
time the ministry of John Dipetzius, a pastor 
of Dort; it so happened that he was lawfully 
deputed by another Synod, in the name of 
the churches of Utrecht, which did not follow 
the opinion of the Remonstrants. But when 
the Synod of the churches of Gueldria and 
Zutphan, had been assembled at Arnhem, 
the Remonstrant deputies from the Classis 
of Bommellien refused to sit along with 
the rest, unless previously certain condi- 



tions had been performed to them, which 
the Synod judged to be opposed to the de- 
cree of the Illustrious the States. And when 
ten articles had before this been offered by 
the Remonstrants of the Classis of Neomage, 
Bommelli, and Tiel, to the Illustrious the 
States of Gueldria, and to the counsellors of 
the same, which they intimated to be taught 
by the rest of the pastors; it had been enjoin- 
ed on them, that they should publicly name 
those pastors who taught these things, in or- 
der that they might be cited before the Sy- 
nod, that it might in a legal manner be ex- 
amined, whether the matter were so indeed. 
For it was evident [constabat) that those ar- 
ticles had been framed by the Remonstrants 
in a calumniating manner, in order to excite 
odium {ad conflandam invidiam) against 
the rest of the pastors, before the Supreme 
magistracy. But they were not able tp name 
any one in that whole province, except the 
pastor of Hattemis, who had abundantly 
cleared himself to the Classis; and when the 
Synod nevertheless was willing to cite him, 
that he might be heard before them, the Re- 
monstrants no further pressed it. Certainly, 
Henry Arnoldi, a pastor of Delph, who was 
present in the name of the churches of South 



Holland, declared that there was no one in^ 
South Holland who approved or taught these 
things,* Therefore the Synod severely re- 
proved thenfi for these atrocious calumnies; 
and at the same time declared, that the 
churches of Gueldria did not embrace or ap- 
prove the doctrine contained in these articles, 
as it was set forth by them: though there 
were in them, some sentences, which, taken 
apart, and in an accommodating sense, could 
not be disapproved. Then, at length, hav- 
ing confessed the crime of a calumny into 
which they had been driven {impacise ca- 
lumnias), they requested forgiveness of it 
(earn deprecati sunt). There was then 
drawn up in the same Synod, a state of the 
controversy between the Remonstrants and 
the rest of the pastors, which afterwards was 
exhibited to the national Synod. And as 
there were many pastors in that province, of 
whom some had been suspected of various 

* In like manner it is at this day confidently asserted by 
writers, who, on one account or another, arc regarded as 
worthy of credit; and tlius it is gfcneraily believed, that 
there are a numerous set of men in Britain, called Calvin- 
ists, or Methodists, or evangelical preachers, who preach 
doctrines, defined and stated by the writers, and justly 
deemed absurd and pernicious; who, if they were thus 
authoritatively called on to prove their assertions would 
Bcarcely be able to substantiate the charge on one indi- 
vidual of the whole company. 



Other errors besides the five articles of the 
Remonstrants, others had illegally intruded 
into the ministry, and finally, others were of 
profligate life : some of them having been 
cited before the Synod, for these causes were 
suspended from the ministry; but by no 
means because of the opinion contained in 
the five articles of the Remonstrants, which 
were reserved to the national Synod. The 
cause of the rest, having been left in the 
name of the Synod, was referred to some 
persons deputed by it, to whom the IllusUi- 
ous the States likewise joined their own de- 
legates. These causes, having been fully ex- 
amined in their Classes, they suspended cer- 
tain of them from their ministry, and others 
they entirely removed. 

In the mean while the Illustrious the States 
General, when they had several times com- 
manded those of Utrecht especially to dis- 
miss the new soldiers, and those who, it ap- 
peared, had been levied for this purpose also, 
that the execution of the decrees of the future 
national Synod, if perhaps the Remonstrants 
could not approve of them, might be hinder- 
ed by an armed force; determined that all 
these soldiers, of which there were now some 
thousands, should, as soon as possible, be dis- 


banded and discharged by their authority. 
And when this measure had been carried in- 
to effect by the most Illustrious the Prince of 
Orange, with incredible fortitude of soul, pru- 
dence, dexterity, and promptitude, without 
any effusion of blood; and their principal 
officers, who had endeavoured by force to re- 
sist this disbanding of them, had been com- 
mitted to custody; John Utenbogardus, 
James Taurinus, ajid Adolphus Venator, con- 
scious in themselves of criminality, {male 
sibi conscii), having deserted their churches, 
fled out of federated Belgium; as likewise 
did a short time after Nicolas Grevinchovius, 
having been cited by the court of Holland to 
plead his own cause. And when a particu- 
lar Synod in South Holland had been called 
at Delph, most of the Remonstrants, des- 
pising the before mentioned decree of the 
Illustrious the States, refused to depute any 
person to the Synod ; and, having presented 
a little suppliant book [libello si(pplicx) to 
the Illustrious the States of Holland and 
West Friezland, they petitioned that, instead 
of the national Synod now proclaimed an- 
other convention instituted according to the 
same twelve conditions, which those who 
were cited afterwards laid before the na- 



lional Synod, might be called. The Illustri- 
ous the States, having heard the judgment of 
the Synod of Delph concerning this demand, 
(which also was inserted in these acts,) com- 
manded them to obey the constituted order, 
and the mandates of the Illustrious the States; 
and moreover, fully to state their opinion 
comprised in writing, concerning the articles 
proposed in the conference at Delph, in the 
year 1613; and to add all their considera- 
tions, which they had respecting the Con- 
fession and Catechism of these churches. 
They exhibited the declaration of their opi- 
nion on the before mentioned articles, vvhich 
afterwards, having been translated into Latin 
by the delegates of this Synod, was commu- 
nicated to the national Synod : but, in the 
placeof considerations, they sent some things 
gathered out of the writings of certain learn- 
ed men, as if opposite to the Confession and 
the Catechism. 

Before this Synod, John Utenbogardus, and 
Nicolas Grevinchovius were cited ; and when 
the former, as a fugitive {profugus), dared 
not to appear, but the latter contumaciously 
refused, the accusations produced against 
them having been examined, each of them 
was, by the judgment of this Synod, re- 


moved from the ecclesiastical ministry. But 
when in South Holland, besides these two, 
there were many others, of whom the most, 
in these dissentions, had been obtruded, on 
unwilling churches, without a lawful voca- 
tion; and others, who besides these five 
articles, had moreover scattered many So- 
cinian errors, others had grievously offended 
the churches by wicked and turbulent ac- 
tions, and others finally led a profane life; it 
was judged necessary, in order that the 
churches should be purified from these scan- 
dals, and the discipline of the clergy, as it is 
called, which had fallen into decay, should 
at length be restored, that all these disor- 
derly (alttxrej) pastors should be cited, that 
they might render before the Synod, an ac- 
count, as well of their vocation, as of their 
doctrine, and also of their life; which seemed 
proper to be done, even for this cause also, 
before the national Synod, that if perhaps 
any should deem themselves aggrieved by 
the sentence of the Synod, or its deputies, 
they might appeal to the judgment (of the 
national Synod. ) Certain of these appeared, 
whose causes having been duly examined, 
some of them were suspended from their 
office, and others wholly set aside. But as 


to those, who because of the shortness of the 
time, having been cited, could not be heard, 
and those who, having been cited, had not 
appeared; five pastors were deputed, to 
whom the Illustrious the States joined also 
three deputies, who might take cognizance 
of their cause, and give sentence upon it in 
the name of the Synod. But it was ex- 
pressly enjoined to these deputies, not to fix 
any censure on any one, because of the opin- 
iori expressed in the five articles of the Re- 
monstrants; forasmuch, as the judgment con- 
cerning the same had been reserved entire to 
the national Synod. But they, though they 
every where, on the aforementioned most 
weighty causes, even dnring the national 
Synod, suspended many, partly from the 
office of teaching, and partly entirely set 
them aside ; yet marked no one with any 
censure because of the opinion of the five 
articles, as it may be evidently shown from 
their very Acts.* In North Holland, matters 
were conducted after the same method, in 
the Synod of Horn, in which the pastors of 

* The appeal is thus made to the registered Acts of 
tiiese deputies, evidently because tiiey had been or were 
likely to be misrepresented by the t'avourcrs of the Re- 
monstrants; as, beyond doubt, they generally have been 
to this very day. 



Horn, John Valesius, John Rodhigenus, and 
Isaac Welsingius, having been suspended. 
from the office of teaching, appealed to the 
national Synod.j And when the deputies 
of this Sjmod, along with the delegates of 
the Illustrious the States, examined, in the 
Classis of Alcmar, the cause of John Gey- 
stran, a pastor of Alcmar, and of Peter 
Geystran, his brother, a pastor of Egmond; 
it was discovered, that they had been evi- 
dently addicted to the blasphemous and exe- 
crable errors of Socinus, as it appears from 
their own confession; which, because it was 
publicly read in the national Synod, to the 
horror of all men, is likewise inserted in 
these Acts. In the Synod of the Transyl- 
vanian churches, some of the Remonstrants 
were commanded to render an account of 
their doctrine and actions; and when among 
them four pastors of the church of Campe, 
Thomas Goswin, Assuerus Matlhisius, John 
Scotlerus, and above all Everard Vosculius, 
had been accused of many errors, and of va- 
rious turbulent actions; the cause having 
been examined, it seemed good to reserve it 
for the national Synod; even as it was after- 
wards brought before the same. In the 
other provinces, because no manifest Re- 


monstrants were found, tlie Synods there 
held duly prepared all things with less la- 
bour, after the accustomed manner, for the 
national Synod. 

In the mean time, the most Illustrious and 
powerful the States General had addressed 
letters to the most Serene and powerful 
James I. king of Great Britain, to the depu- 
ties of the reformed churches of the kingdom 
of France, to the most Serene the Elector 
Palatine, and the Elector of Brandenburg; 
to the most Illustrious the Landgrave of 
Hesse; to the four reformed republics of 
Helvetia, (Switzerland,) the Tigurine, Ber- 
nessian, Basilian, and the Schaphusian; to 
the Illustrious and generous the Counts of 
Correspondentia and Wedevarica; to the re- 
publics of Geneva, Bremen, and Emden, in 
which they requested, that they would deign 
to send from them to this Synod, some of 
their own theologians, excelling in learning, 
piety, and prudence, who might earnestly 
labour by their counsels and decisions, along 
with the rest of the deputies of the Belgic 
chinches, to settle those controversies, which 
had arisen in these Belgic churches, and to 
restore peace to the same. 

All these things having been duly pre- 



pared and completed, when at the appointed 
time as well tlie deputies of the Belgic 
churches, as also the foreign theologians, a 
few excepted, had met together at Dordrecht, 
(or Dort,) that national Synod was begun in 
the name of the Lord, on the thirteenth day 
of November (1618.). But in this Synod, 
what now was actually done, the prudent 
reader may copiously {prolixe) know from 
the Acts of the same, which now are pub- 
lished for the favour (satisfaction, gratiam) 
and use of the reformed churches. It hath 
seemed good also, that to these Acts should 
be joined, besides other writings exhibited to 
this Synod, the judgments also of the theo- 
logians, concerning the five articles of the 
Remonstrants as they were proposed in the 
Synod; by which they may more fully know, 
by the same, on what passages of Scripture, 
and on what arguments, the canons of the 
reformed church do rest. It is not to be 
doubted, but that the prudent reader will 
discover in these judgments, the highest and 
most admirable agreement. If perhaps in 
less matters a certain diversity appear; even 
this will be an argument, that a due liberty 
of prophesying and judging flourished, in 
this venerable convention; but that all, not- 


withstanding, by concording opinions, agreed 
in the doctrine expressed in the canons of 
this Synod; of whom all and every one, 
(not one indeed excepted, or declining to do 
it,) subscribed to testify this consent. 

But all the reformed churches are request- 
ed, willingly to embrace, preserve, and pro- 
pagate this orthodox doctrine, so solemnly 
in this Synod, explained and confirmed from 
the word of God; and transmit it to all pos- 
terity, to the glory of divine grace, and the 
consolation and salvation of souls. And at 
the same time also favourably to receive the 
pious, and never sufficiently to be celebrated 
zeal and earnest endeavour of the most Illus- 
trious and mighty the States General of fede- 
rated Belgium, for preserving the purity {sin- 
ceritate) of the reformed religion; and also 
to follow up with their favour, the diligence 
and piety, in maintaining the same, of so 
many doctors, of distinguished chm'ches, 
who were present at this Synod: and, above 
all things, it is requested, that they would 
earnestly entreat the most high and gracious 
God {opthnxim maximum) that he would 
indeed benignly preserve the Belgic churches, 
and, in like manner, all others professing with 
them the same orthodox doctrine, in the unity 



of the faith, in peace and tranquillity ; and that 
he would inspire a better mind into the Re- 
monstrants themselves, and all others who 
are involved in error;* and by the grace of 
his own Spirit, would at length, some time 
lead them to the knowledge of the truth, to 
the glory of his own divine name, the edifi- 
cation of the churches, and the salvation of 
us all; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ; to whom with the Father, and the 
Holy Spirit, the one, true, and immortal God, 
be praise, and honour, and glory, for ever 
and ever. Amen.t 

* " Tliat it may please tlice to bring- into the way of 
truth, all such as have erred and are deceived." — (Litany.) 
The Calvinism of the Synod did not, it seems, prevent 
their prayers for those who, as they supposed, were in 
error. It did not lead them to treat their most eager op- 
ponents, as reprolmles, and give up as necessarily consign- 
ed to destruction, as many ignorantly suppose ; or confi- 
dently assert, tliat decided Calvinists do, even with malig- 
nity and malignant satisfaction. So great are they calum- 
niated ! 

+ " Accordingly a Synod was convoked at Dordrecht 
in the year 1618, by the counsels and influence of prince 
Maurice, &c."--(Mosheim, vol. v. p. 450.) " Our author 
always forgets to mention the order issued by the States 
General for the convocation of this famous Synod ; and 
by his manner of expressing himself, and particularly by 
the phrase {Muuritio auctoie) would seem to insinuate, 
that it was by this prince, that the assembly was called 
together. The legitimacy of tlie manner of convoking 
this Synod was questioned by Olden-Barneveldt, who 
maintained that the States General had no sort of au- 
thority in matters of religion; affirming that this was an 


act of sovereignty, that belonged to each province sepa- 
rately, and respectively." — (Maclaine, Ibid.) 

It was by means of tliese disputes, about the ecclesias- 
tical authority, (which all parties supposed to be possessed 
by some of them,) that the union of the confederated 
States was endangered in this controversy. 

" Dr. Mosheim, however impartial, seems to have con- 
sulted more the authors of one side than of the other, pro- 
bably because they were more numerous, and more gene- 
rally known. When he published this history, the world 
had not been favoured with The Letters, Memoirs, and 
Negotiations of Sir Dudley Carleton, which Lord Roys- 
ton (afterwards Earl of Hardwicke) drew from his inesti- 
mable treasure of historical manuscripts, and presented to 
the public, or rather at first to a select number of persons, 
to whom he distributed a small number of copies, printed 
at his own expense. They were soon translated both into 
Dutch and French : and, though it cannot be affirmed, 
that the spirit of party is no where discoverable in them; 
yet they contain anecdotes with respect both to Olden- 
Barneveldt and Grotius, that the Arminians, and the other 
patrons of these two great men, have been studious to 
conceal. These anecdotes, though they may not be suffi- 
cient to justify the severities exercised against these emi- 
nent men, would, however, have prevented Dr. Mosheim 
from saying, that he knew not on what pretext they were 
arrested." (Mosheim, vol. v. p. 449, 450. Note by Mac- 

In a political contest for authority, between prince 
Maurice, and his opponents, in the States General, the 
Remonstrants favoured his opponents, and the Contra-Re- 
monstrants were attached to him. The prince's party at 
length prevailed, and, " the men who sat at the helm of 
government, were cast into prison. Olden Barneveldt, a 
man of wisdom and gravity, whose hairs were grown 
grey in the service of his country, lost his life on the pub- 
lic scaftbld, while Grotius and Hoogerbcrts were con- 
demned to perpetual imprisonment; under what pretext, 
or in consequence of what accusations or crimes, is un- 
known to us." — (Mosheim, vol. v. p. 448, 449.) 





(Published on ihe 5ih of May. A. D. 1619.) 


In the name of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Among very many comforts, which our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ hath given 
to his own church militant, in this calamitous 
pilgrimage; that which he left unto it, when 
about to go away to his Father, into the 
heavenly sanctuary, saying, " I am with you 
at all times, even unto the end of " the 
world," is deservedly celebrated. The truth 
of this most delightful promise shines forth 



in the church of all ages, which, whilst it has 
been besieged from the beginning, not only 
by the open violence of enemies, but also by 
the secret craftiness of seducers, truly if at 
any time the Lord had deprived it of the 
salutary guard of his own promised presence, 
had long since been either crushed by the 
power of tyrants, or seduced into destruc- 
tion by the fraud of impostors. 

But that good Shepherd, who most con- 
stantly loveth his flock, for which he laid 
down his life, hath always, most seasonably, 
and often by his own right liand stretched 
forth, most miraculously repressed the rage 
of persecutors; and hath also detected and 
dissipated the crooked ways of seducers, and 
their fraudulent counsels; by both demon- 
strating himself to be most efFectually pre- 
sent {presenlissimiim) in his church. Of 
this thing, an illustrious instruction {docu- 
?neniii7n) exists in the history of the pious 
emperors, kings, and princes, whom the Son 
of God hath excited so often for the assist- 
ance of his church, hath fired with the holy 
zeal of his house, and by their help, hath 
not only repressed the furious rage {furores) 
of tyrants; but also hath procured to his 
churcli when conflicting with false teachers, 


in various ways adulterating religion, the 
remedies of holy Synods; in which the faith- 
ful servants of Christ, by united prayers, 
counsels, and labours, have valiantly stood 
for the church, and for the truth of God; 
have intrepidly opposed themselves against 
the "ministers of Satan, though transform- 
ing themselves into angels of light;" have 
taken away the seeds of errors and discords; 
have preserved the church in the concord of 
pure religion; and have transmitted the gen- 
uine {sincerum) worship of God uncorrupt- 
ed, to posterity. With a similar benefit, our 
faithful Saviour hath, at this time, testified 
his own gracious presence with the Belgic 
church, by one means or other [aliquain) 
very much afflicted for many years. For 
this church, rescued by the powerful hand 
of God from the tyranny of the Roman anti- 
christ, and the horrible idolatry of popery, 
(or the popedom, papatus,) and many times 
most miraculously preserved in the dangers 
of a long continued war; and flourishing in 
the concord of true doctrine and discipline, 
to the praise of her God, to an admirable in- 
crease of the republic and the joy of the 
whole reformed world, James Arminius and 
his followers, holding out the name of Re- 


monstrants, by various errors, old as well as 
new at first covertly, and then openly assault- 
ed {tentarimt,) and while it was pertina- 
ciously disturbed with scandalous dissen- 
tions and scliisms, they had brought it into 
such extreme danger, that unless the mercy 
of our Saviour had most opportunely inter- 
posed in behalf of his most flourishing church, 
they had at length consumed it with the hor- 
rible conflagration of discords and schisms. 

But, blessed be the Lord for ever, who, 
after he had hid his face for a moment from 
us, (who by many ways had provoked his 
wrath and indignation,) hath made it attested 
to the whole world, that he doth not forget 
his covenant, nor contemn the sighs of his 
own people. For when scarcely any hope 
of a remedy, humanly speaking {/mmanilus) 
appeared; he inspired this mind into the most 
Illustrious and very powerful the States Gen- 
eral of confederated Belgium, (see Ezra vii. 
27, 28,) that, with the counsel and direction 
of the most Illustrious and valiant the Prince 
of Orange, they determined to go forth to 
meet these raging evils, by those legitimate 
means, which have been sanctioned by the 
examples of the apostles themselves, and of 
the Christian church that followed them, 



during a long course of years, and which 
have before this been had recourse to {nsii7'- 
patsc) in the Belgic church, with much fruit; 
and they called a Synod at Dordrecht by 
their own authority, out of all the provinces 
which they governed; having sought out 
towards it both the favour of the most Se- 
rene and powerful James, King of Great 
Britain, and of Illustrious Princes, Counts, 
and Republics, and having obtained also 
very many most grave theologians; that, by 
common judgment of so many divines of the 
reformed church, those dogmas of Arminius 
and of his followers might be decided on ac- 
curately, and by the word of God alone ; that 
the true doctrine might be confirmed, and 
the false rejected ; and that concord, peace, 
and tranquillity might, by the divine blessing, 
be restored to the Belgic churches. This 
IS the benefit of God, in which the Bel- 
gic churches exult; and then humbly ac- 
knowledge and thankfully proclaim, the com- 
passions of their faithful Saviour. Therefore 
this venerable Synod, (after a previous ap- 
pointment and observance of prayers and 
fasting, by the authority of the Supreme Ma- 
gistracy, in all the Belgic churches, to depre- 
cate the wrath of God, and to implore his 


gracious assistance) being met together in 
the name of the Lord at Dordrecht, fired 
with the love of God {divini niiminis) and 
for the salvation of the church; and, after 
having invoked the name of God, having 
bound itself by a sacred oath, that it would 
take the Holy Scriptures alone as the rule of 
judgment, and engage in the examination 
{cognitione) and decision of this cause, with 
a good and upright conscience, they attempt- 
ed diligently, with great patience, to induce 
the principal patrons of those dogmas, being 
cited before them, to explain more fully 
their opinion, concerning the known five 
heads of doctrine, and the grounds, (or rea- 
sons) of that opinion. 

But when they rejected the decision of the 
Synod, and refused to answer to their inter- 
rogatories, in that manner which was equita- 
ble; and when neither the admonitions of the 
Synod, nor the mandates of the most honour- 
able and ample the delegates of the States 
General; nor yet even the commands of the 
most Illustrious and very powerful lords the 
States General, availed any thing with them, 
(the Synod) was compelled, by the command 
of the same lords, to enter on another way; 
according to the custom received of old, in 


ancient Synods; and from writings, confes- 
sions, and declarations, partly before pub- 
lished, and partly even exhibited to this 
Synod, an examination of those five dog- 
mas, (or points of doctrine,) was instituted. 
Which when it was now completed, by the 
singular grace of God, with the greatest dili- 
gence, fidelity, and conscience (or conscien- 
tiousness) with the consent of all and every 
one; this Synod, for the glory of God, and 
that it might take counsel for the entireness 
{integi'itate) of the saving truth, and for the 
tranquillity of consciences, and for the peace 
and safety of the Belgic church, determined 
that the following judgment, by which both 
the true opinion, agreeing with the word of 
God, concerning the aforesaid five heads of 
doctrine is explained, and the false opinion, 
and that discordant with the word of God is 
rejected, should be promulgated. 


On this preface, I would make a ievr re- 

1. If the expectations, which the persons 
constituting this Synod, and of those who 
were concerned in convening it, as to the use- 
ful tendency and beneficial effects of such as- 
semblies, were indeed ill-grounded, and of 



course the measure improper; the fault was 
not exclusively theirs, but that of the age in 
which they lived, and indeed of almost all 
preceding ages. Not one of the reformers, 
or of the princes who favoured the Reforma- 
tion can be named, who did not judge, either 
a general council, or national councils or Sy- 
nods of some kind, proper measures for pro- 
moting the cause of truth and holiness, and 
counteracting the progress of schism, heresy, 
and false doctrine: and in every place where 
the reformation was established, assemblies 
of the rulers and teachers of the church, un- 
der one form or other, were employed, either 
in framing, or sanctioning, the articles of 
faith adopted in each church, and in regu- 
lating the several particulars respecting the 
doctrine to be preached, the worship to be 
performed by those who constituted each 
church, and the terms of officiating as minis- 
ters, in their respective societies. The sys- 
tem of independency, and individuality, so 
to speak, either of separate congregations, or 
ministers, or Christians, without any such 
common bond of union or concert, had not 
then been thought of, at least in modern 
times. And at this day, while numbers sup- 
pose that they steer their course at a distance 


from the rocks which endangered the first 
reformers, as well as the whole church in 
former ages, it may well be questioned whe- 
ther they do not run into the opposite ex- 
treme. Solomon says, or God himself by 
him, "In the multitude of counsellors there 
is safety;" yet who does not know, that 
through the evil dispositions, and selfish con- 
duct of those, who constitute the counsellors, 
and senates, and parliaments of diSerent na- 
tions, such abuses often occur in them, as 
form a manifest exception to this general 
maxim? Yet who does not also see, that par- 
liaments, and counsellors, and Jaws, are in 
themselves very desirable ; and far prefera- 
ble to every thing being settled by the sole 
will or caprice of every one, who by any 
means obtains authority? or, that every man 
should do that which is right in his own eyes, 
as when there was no king in Israel ? The 
abuse alone is the evil, and to be guarded 
against : the thing itself is allowedly benefi- 

The apostles themselves, when consulted 
by Paul and Barnabas, did not settle the 
question proposed to them by their own di- 
rect authority: but "the apostles and elders 
came together for to consider of this matter." 



(Acts XV. 6.) It is evident that some, even 
in "that first genera/ council," as it is very 
improperly called, had strong prejudices 
against the measure which was finally de- 
cided on: yet its decrees proved a blessing of 
no small magnitude to the churches of Christ, 
whether constituted of Jewish or Gentile con- 
verts. Now, a measure thus sanctioned can- 
not be evil in itself: though General Coun- 
cils and Synods should have in many or most 
instances, been productive of far greater evil 
than good. The fault lay in the motives, the 
corrupt passions, and wrong state of mind 
and heart of those who convened, and of 
those who constituted them, (that is, in the 
abuse of the thing,) not in the thing itself. 

The apostles by their own authority might 
have decreed the same things, and have said, 
" It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to 
us, &c.;" but they were not led by the Spirit 
of inspiration to adopt this method : they did 
nothing by absolute authority; it does not 
appear that any thing directly miraculous, or 
of immediate revelation, concurred in their 
decision. It was the result of arguments 
drawn from facts, and from the holy Scrip- 
tures, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, 
not materially differing from what uninspired 



men, of the same character and heavenly 
" wisdom, without partiaUty and without 
hypocrisy," might have formed, under the 
mere ordinary teaching and superintendence 
of the same Spirit. Now, it is not impossi- 
ble for God to raise up elders and teachers, 
bearing this holy character, and endued with 
this heavenly wisdom, in other ages and na- 
tions, who, coming together to consider of 
those things which corrupt the doctrine, 
worship, and purity, or disturb the peace, of 
the church, may form and promulgate deci- 
sions, so evidently grounded on a fair inter- 
pretation of the sacred oracles, and so power- 
fully enforced by the character and influence 
of those concerned, as, by the divine bless- 
ing, may produce the most extensively bene- 
ficial effects. 

General councils, so called, convened by 
the concurring authority of many princes 
and rulers, over rival nations, are not likely 
to come to any such scriptural decisions; 
and the history of general councils is certain- 
ly suited exceedingly to damp our expecta- 
tions from them. But the history of the Re- 
formation, both on the continent and in this 
land, produces many instances of conven- 
tions, under one name or other, in which the 


rulers and teachers of the church, under the 
countenance of princes who favoured the 
cause of truth and hoUness, came to such de- 
cisions, in the most important matters, as 
proved very extensive and permanent bene- 
fits to mankind, and which could not have 
been expected without united deliberations 
and determinations of this kind. The minis- 
ters and members of the establishment, in 
this land, at least, must be allowed to think 
that this was the case, in the framing of our 
articles, liturgy, and homilies. 

It is true that afterwards, convocations 
became useless, or even worse than useless, 
and so sunk into disuse : but this was not un- 
til the spirit of wisdom and piety, which ac- 
tuated our first Reformers, had most griev- 
ously declined, and made way for a political 
and party spirit, in the persons concerned. 
Thus the abuse of the measure, not the mea- 
sure itself, must bear the blame. 

2. I observe from this preface, that the 
members of the Synod of Dort, in the most 
solemn manner, and in the language at least 
of genuine piety, declare the awful obliga- 
tions under which they brought themselves, 
to decide the controverted questions accord- 
ing to the holy Scriptures alone, and their 



full consciousness that they had discharged 
this obligation in an upright manner. The - 
names annexed to their decisions certainly 
include among them a great proportion of 
the most able Protestant and Reformed theo- 
logians in Europe: and who can doubt the 
sincerity of these professions, when coming 
from such men as Bishops Davenant and 
Ward, and those with whom they thus cor- 
dially united? — Prejudices, mistakes, and 
faults of many kinds may be supposed in 
them; but the candid and pious mind recoils 
from the idea, that the whole was direct and 
intended hypocrisy. 

In fact, I must give it as my opinion at 
least, that they did fulfil their solemn en- 
gagement; and must confess, that fewer 
things appear to me unscriptural^ in these 
articles, than in almost any human compo- 
sition which I have read upon the subject. 
Of course I expect that Anticalvinists will 
judge otherwise, and even many Calvinists: 
yet surely every candid man will allow, that 
they honestly meant thus to decide, and 
thought that they had thus decided. 

It may also be seen in the course of this 
work, that their doctrine accorded with the 
Belgic articles before in force among them, 


to which the Contra-Remonstrants had all 
along appealed. 

3. I would observe, that they seem to have 
aimed at too much in their deliberations and 
decisions; not too much for an ordinary con- 
troversial publication, but too much for an 
authoritative standard, to be entirely re- 
ceived and adhered to, by all the ministers 
of religion and teachers of youth in the Bel- 
gic churches. I should indeed say,/«r too 
much. And here, I again avow my con- 
viction of the superior wisdom bestowed on 
the compilers of our articles, on the several 
points under consideration; in which, while 
nothing essential is omitted or feebly stated 
a generality of language is observed, far 
more suitable to the design than the decrees 
of this Synod, and tending to preserve peace 
and harmony among all truly humble Chris- 
tians, who do not in all respects see eye to 
eye, yet may " receive one another, but not 
to doubtful disputations:" whereas tlie very 
exactness, and particularity, into which, 
what I must judge, scriptural doctrine is 
branched out, and errors reprobated, power- 
fully counteracted the intended effect, and 
probably more than any thing else, or all 
other things combined, has brought on this 



Synod such decided, but unmerited odium 
and reproach. 

4. I would observe, that using the arm of 
the magistrate, and inflicting penaUies on 
those who stood out against the decisions of 
the Synod, not being mentioned in the pre- 
face, will more properly be considered, in 
another stage of our progress. But had the 
decrees been promulgated, and compliance 
with them demanded, from all who acted as 
ministers of religion, or teachers of youth 
in the established seminaries of the Belgic 
church; with simply the exclusion from such 
stations, of those who declined compliance, 
or violated their engagements to comply; 
while a toleration was granted, as at present 
in Britain, either to preach, or teach in other 
places or schools: the terms might indeed 
have been considered as too strict, and re- 
quiring more than could reasonably be ex- 
pected; but, in other respects, it does not 
appear, that the conduct of the Synod would 
have been blameable. For, every body or 
company of professed Christians, down from 
established national churches, to independent 
dissenting congregations, prescribe terms of 
communion, or of ofliciating as ministers on 


those, who desire voluntarily to join them, 
and exchide such as dedine comphance. 

How far the revenues, in the Belgic 
churches, could, with any propriety, have 
been shared, and any portion of them allot- 
ted, to what we might call the dissenting 
teachers, I am not prepared to say. But, as 
toleration (in this sense at least) was no part 
of the system at the Reformation in any 
country; the ancient revenues for religious 
purposes, as far as they were preserved for 
those uses, of course were alloted to the es- 
tablished ministers in the different churches. 
Neither dissenters, nor provision for dissen- 
ters, were thought of: and it would after- 
wards have been expecting too much in 
general, to suppose that they who found 
themselves in possession of these revenues, 
would voluntarily share them with the dis- 
sentients, or that rulers would venture to 
compel them. Yet, if to a full toleration, 
something had publicly been allotted to- 
wards the support of peaceful and consci- 
entious dissenting teachers; it would, as it 
appears to me at least, have had a most 
powerful eflect in diminishing acrimony, 
silencing objections, and promoting peace 
and love. 



" The Articles of the Synod of Dort, Heylin 
introduces in this manner: — 'Because par- 
ticular men may sometimes be mistaken in a 
public doctrine, and that the judgment of 
such men, being collected by the hands of 
their enemies, may be unfaithfully related; 
we will next look on the conclusions of the 
Synod of Dort, which is to be conceived to 
have delivered the genuine sense of all the 
parties, as being a representative of all the 
Calvinian Churches of Europe, (except those 
of France,) some few Divines of England 
being added to them. Of the calling and 
proceedings of this Synod we shall have 
occasion to speak further in the following 
chapter. At this time I shall only lay down 
the results thereof in the five controverted 
points (as I find them abbreviated by Dan. 
Tilenus) according to the heads before men- 


tioned in summing up the doctrine of the 
Council of Trent.'" (Refutation of Calvin- 
ism, p. 566.) 

A few things may here be noted. — Is it 
very probable, that such decided Anticalvin- 
ists, as Heylin or Collier should be impartial, 
in their account of this celebrated Synod? — 
Is it to be supposed, that there was no dif- 
ference of sentiment among the persons of 
whom it was composed? — Were four divines 
an adequate representation of all the Calvin- 
ists in England? Did not one, or more, of all 
these four, dissent from the decisions of this 
Synod? Were other Protestant countries re- 
presented in any great degree more ade- 
quately? Were not the leading men greatly 
embittered with personal enmities, and the 
spirit of persecution and resentment? Did not 
political interests, and the spirit of party, still 
more embitter the spirits, or sway the delib- 
erations and conclusions of the Synod? And 
therefore are all the Calvinists, who lived at 
that time, or who now live, or whoever shall 
live, to be judged according to the proceed- 
ings of the Synod of Dort? It would be no 
dltilcult undertaking, by such a procedure, to 
fix very iieavy charges on the whole body 
of Anticalvinists in Europe and in the world: 



but attempts of this kind prove nothing; ex- 
cept a disposition to act the part of a special 
pleader in the controversy, rather than that 
of an impartial judge. As I, however, had 
met with the same abstract of the articles of 
this Synod, in other publications more fa- 
vourable to Calvinism, I had no suspicion 
that these were not the real articles of the 
Synod, but an abbreviation, (yet with se- 
veral clauses also added,) an abbreviation by 
avowed opponents. But the Christian Ob- 
server first excited a suspicion that these 
were not the real articles of the Synod; and 
led me to inquire after a copy of those arti- 
cles, which are indeed immensely more dis- 
cordant with the abbreviations than I could 
have previously imagined. Bui let the at- 
tentive reader judge, from the following lite- 
ral translation of these articles, &c. as con- 
tained in i\iQ Sylloge Confessionum, Oxford, 




Art. 1. As all men have sinned in Adam, 
and have become exposed to the curse and 
eternal death, God would have done no in- 
justice to any one, if he had determined to 
leave the whole human race under sin and 
the curse, and to condemn them on account 
of sin; according to those words of the 
Apostle, " All the world is become guilty 
before God." Rom. iii. 19. "All have 
sinned, and come short of the glory of God." 
23. And " The wages of sin is death." 
Rom. vi. 23,* 

2. But " in this is the love of God mani- 
fested, that he sent his only begotten Son 
into the world, that every one who believeth 
in him should not perish, but have everlast- 
ing life." 1 John iv. 9. John iii. 16. 

3. But that men may be brought to faith, 
God mercifully sends heralds of this most 
joyful message, to whom he willeth, and 

* Gal. iii. 10. 22. — " In every person born into the 
world, it, (original sin,) descrveth God's wrath and dam- 
nation." Art. ix. 


when he willeth, by whose ministry men are 
called to repentance, and faith in Christ cru- 
cified. For " How shall they believe in him 
of whom they have not heard? and how 
shall they hear without a preacher ? and how 
shall they preach except they be sent?" 
Rom. X. 14, 15. 

4. They who believe not the Gospel, on 
them the wrath of God remaineth: but tliose 
who receive it, and embrace the Saviour 
Jesus with a true and living faith, are, 
through him, delivered from the wrath of 
God, and receive the gift of everlasting life 
{uc vitct eternd donantiir.) Rom. vi. 23. 

5. The cause or fault of this unbelief, as 
also of all other sins, is by no means in God, 
but in man. But faith in Jesus Christ, and 
salvation by him, is the free gift of God: 
" By grace are ye saved, through faith, and 
that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." 
Eph, ii. S. In like manner, " It is given 
you to believe in Christ." Phil. i. 29. (See 
Art. X.) 

6. That some, in time, have faith given 
them by God, and others have it not given, 
proceeds from his eternal decree; For, 
" known unto God are all his works, from 
the beginning of the world." Acts xv. 18. 



Eph. i. 11.* According to which decree, he 
graciously softens the hearts of the elect, 
however hard, and he bends them to be- 
lieve: but the non-elect he leaves, in just 
judgment, to their own perversity and hard- 
ness.! And here, especially, a deep dis- 
crimination, at the same lime both merciful 
and just, a discrimination of men equally 
lost, opens itself to us; or that decree of 
Election and Reprobation which is revealed 
in the word of God. Which, as perverse, 
impure, and unstable persons do wrest to 
their own destruction, so it affords ineffable 
consolation to holy and pious souls.t 

» Eph. i. 4, 5. iii. 11. 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14. 2 Tim. i. 
9. 10. Tit. i. 2. 1 Pet. i. 2. 20. Rev. xiii. 8. xvii. 8. 

t " Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of 
God, whereby, betore the foundations of the world were 
laid, he hath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to 
us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he 
hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them 
by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to ho- 
nour. Wherefore they which are endued with so excellent 
a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by 
his Spirit working in due season: they through grace 
obey the calling; thoy be justified freely, vVc." Art. xvii. 

X " As the godly consideration of predestination and 
our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and un- 
speakable comfort to godly persons, and such as fbel in 
themselves the working of the Spirit ofl'hrist, mortifying 
the works of the flesh and their earthly members, and 
drawing up their minds to high and heavenly things; ofl 
well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their 
faith of eternal salvation, to be enjoyed through Christ, as 
because it doth fervently kindle their love-to God; so for 
curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Chrit-t, 


7. But Election is the immutable purpose 
of God, by which, before the foundations of'" 
the world were laid, he chose, out of the 
whole human race, fallen by their own 
fault from their primeval integrity into sin 
and destruction, according to the most free 
good pleasure of his own will, and of mere 
grace, a certain number of men, neither bet- 
ter nor worthier than others, but lying in the 
same misery with the rest, to salvation in 
Christ; whom he had, even from eternity, 
constituted Mediator and Head of all the 
elect, and the foundation of Salvation; and 
therefore he decreed to give them unto him 
to be saved, and elfectually to call and draw 
them, into communion with him, by his own 
word and Spirit; or he decreed himself to 
give unto them true faith,* to justify, to 
sanctify, and at length powerfully to glorify 
them, having been kept in the communion 

to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's 
predestination, is a most dangerous downfal, whereby the 
devil doth thrust them cither into desperation, or into 
wretchlcssness of most unclean living, no less perilous 
than desperation." Art. xvii. Whatever method of inter- 
pretation be adopted, as to the different parts of this our 
article ; they, who cordially approve it, cannot consistently 
object to this article of the Synod of Dort, which is en- 
tirely coincident with it; and at least not more decided 
and explicit. 

* " We believe that the Holy Spirit dwelling in our 
hearts, imparts to us true faith, that we may obtain the 
knowledge of so great a mystery." — Belgic Confession. 


of his Son; to the demonstration of his mer- 
cy, and the praise of the riches of his glorious 
grace, as it is written: " God hath chosen us 
in Christ before the foundations of the world 
were laid, that we should be holy and with- 
out blame before him in love; having pre- 
destinated us unto the adoption of children, 
by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the 
good pleasure of his will. To the praise of 
the glory af his grace, wherein he hath freely 
made us accepted to himself in that Beloved 
One." Eph. i. 4 — 6. And in another place, 
"Whom he did predestinate, them he also 
called; and whom he called, them he also 
justified ; and whom he justified, them he 
also glorified." Rom. viii. 30. 

8. This Election is not multiform, but one 
and the same of all that shall be saved, in 
the Old and New Testament, seeing that the 
Scripture declares the good pleasure, purpose, 
and counsel of the will of God, by which he 
has, from eternity, chosen us to grace and 
glory: both to salvation and the way of sal- 
vation, which he hath "before prepared that 
we should walk in it." (2 Thess. ii. 13, 14. 
1 Pet. 1. 2.) 

9. This same Election is not made from 
any foreseen faith, obedience of faith, holi- 
ness, or any other good quality and disposi- 



tion, as a pre-requisite cause or condition in 
the man who should be elected, but unto 
faith, and unto the obedience of faith, holi- 
ness, &c. And, therefore, (or truly, proinde) 
election is the fountain of every saving bene- 
fit; whence faith, holiness, and the other sa- 
lutary gifts, and finally, eternal life itself, flow 
as its fruit and eff'ect, according to that word 
of the Apostle: " He hath chosen us (not be- 
cause we ivere, but) that we might be holy, 
and without blame before him in love." 
Eph. i. 4. 

10. Now the cause of this gratuitous Elec- 
tion, is the sole good pleasure of God: (Matt, 
xi. 26. Eph. i. 5. 1 Tim. i. 9. Jam. i. 18,) 
not consisting in this, that he elected into the 
condition of salvation certain qualities or hu- 
man actions, from all that were possible; but 
in that, out of the common multitude of sin- 
ners, he took to himself certain persons as 
his peculiar property, according to the Scrip- 
ture : " For the children being not yet born, 
neither having done any good or evil, &.c. it 
is said," (that is, to Rebecca,) "The elder 
shall serve the younger: even as it is written, 
Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." 
(Rom. ix. 11 — 13.) And, "As many as were 
ordained {ordinati) to eternal life, believed." 
Acts xiii. 48. 



11. And as God himself is most wise, im- 
mutable, omniscient, and omnipotent; so, 
election made by him can neither be inter- 
rupted, changed, recalled, nor broken off; 
nor can the Elect be cast away, nor the num- 
ber of them be diminished. 

12. Of this, his eternal and immutable elec- 
tion to salvation, the elect, though by various 
steps, and in an unequal measure, are ren- 
dered certain (or assured); not indeed by cu- 
riously scrutinizing the deep and mysterious 
things of God; but by observing in them- 
selves, with spiritual delight and holy plea- 
sure, the infallible fruits of election described 
in God's word ; such as true faith in Christ, 
filial fear of God, sorrow for sin, according 
unto God {xvrtrj xata Qsov — " Godly sorrow,") 
(2 Cor. vii. 10. Gr.) hungering and thirsting 
after righteousness, &c.* 

13. From the sense and assurance {certi- 
iiidine) of this election, the children of God 
daily find greater cause of humbling them- 
selves before God, of adoring the abyss of 

* How different is this from the generally circulated 
opinion, that they who believe election, in the Calvinistic 
sense, are taught to assume it a certainty, that they arc 
the elect without furtlier evidence I In this the vehement 
opposers, and the perverters of the doctrine, seem to coin- 
cide ; but no more with the Synod of Dort, than with St. 
Peter's exhortation, 2 Pet. i. 5—10. 



his mercies, of purifying themselves, and of 
more ardently loving him reciprocally, who 
had before so loved them: so far are they 
from being rendered, by this doctrine of 
Election, and the meditation of it, more 
slothful in observing the divine commands, 
or carnally secure.* Wherefore, by the just 
judgment of God, it is wont to happen to 
those who either are rashly presuming, or 
idly and frowardly prating (fabulaniesj 
about the grace of Election, that they are 
not willing to walk in the ways of the Elect. 
14. But as this doctrine of divine Election, 
in the most wise counsel of God was predi- 
cated by the prophets, by Christ himself and 
by the Apostles, under the Old, as well as 
under the New Testament, and then com- 
mitted to the monuments of the sacred Scrip- 
tures; so it is to be declared at this day by 
the church of God, to whom it is peculiarly 
destiiiated, with a spirit of discriuiination, in 
a holy and religious manner, in its own place 
and time, all curious scrutinizing the ways 
of the Most High being laid aside: and this 
to the glory of the most holy divine name, 
and for the lively solace of his people.! 

* 1 Cor. XV. 58. Col. ill. 13, 14. 1 John iii. 2, 3. 
t Election, as a part of divine revelation, and of the 
' ' whole counsel of God," must be preached : we must " not 


15. Moreover, Holy Scripture doth illus- 
trate and commend to us, this eternal and 
free grace of our election, in this more espe- 
cially, that, it doth also testify all men not 
to be elected, but that some are non-elect, or 
passed by in the eternal election of God, 
whom truly God, from most free, just, irre- 
prehensible, and immutable, good pleasure, 
decreed to leave in the common m,isery, in- 
to which they had, by their oivn fault, cast 
themselves, and not to bestow on them liv- 
ing faith, and the grace of conversion; but, 
having been left in their own ways, and un- 
der just judgment, at length, not only on ac- 
count of their unbelief, but also of all their 
other sins, to condemn and eternally punish 
them to the manifestation of his own jus- 
shun to declare it;" for in doing so, what do we, but pre- 
sume ourselves wiser than he who revealed it as -. part of 
his counsel; and decide that it oug-ht not to have been re- 
vealed ? But this declaration must be made, with " dis- 
crimination, in a holy and religious manner, iScc." Thus 
declared in its proper connection, application, and propor- 
tion^ as in tlie sacred Scriptures, it will greatly conduce 
to improve the true believer's character, his humility, 
gratitude, admiring love of God, meekness, compassion, 
and good will to man, as well as his comfort and joy of 
hope. It will also exhibit the gospel of most free and rich 
grace, in its unclouded glory, cast a clearer light on every 
other part of divine truth; and secure to the Lord alone, 
the whole honour of man's salvation. Yet the same doc- 
trine, rashly, indiscriminately, and disproportionately, 
preached ; and not properly stated and improved, does im- 
mense mischief 


lice. * And this is the decree of Reprobation, 
which determines that God is in no wise the 
author of sin, (which to be thought of is 
blasphemy,) but a tremendous, irreprehensi- 
ble, just Judge and Avenger. 

16. Those who do not as yet feel effica- 
ciously in themselves a lively faith in Christ, 
or an assured confidence of heart, peace of 
conscience, earnest desire {studhim) of filial 
obedience, glorying in God through Christ, 
yet nevertheless use the means by which 
God has promised to work these things in 
us, ought not to be alarmed by the mention 
of Reprobation, nor reckon themselves to be 
reprobate; but to use diligently the means 
of grace, and ardently to desire, and reve- 
rently and humbly to expect the period of 
more abounding (or fructifying, uberius) 
grace. And much less should those persons 
be terrified by the doctrine of Reprobation, 

* " He" (God) " secluded from saving grace all the rest 
of mankind {except a very small number) and appointed 
them by trie same decree to eternal damnation, without 
liny regard to their infidelity and impenitency.' — Heylin's 
Abbreviation. Is not this a direct violation of the com- 
mand, " Thou shall not bear false witness against thy 
neighbour?" Or are not Caivinists to be considered as 
nciirhbours by Anti-Calvinists? And do not they whore- 
tail the false aceusatioi;, intentionally, or heedlessly share 
a measure of the criminality? Is this the moral practice 
which is contended for by Anti-Calvinists ? 



who, when seriously converted to God, sim- 
ply desire to please him, and to be delivered 
froffi the body of death, yet cannot attain to 
what they wish in the path of faiih and 
piety; because the merciful God hath pro- 
mised that he will not "quench the smoking 
flax, nor break the bruised reed."* But this 
doctrine is justly for a terror to those who, 
forgetful of God and the Saviour Jesus 
Christ, have delivered themselves wholly to 
the cares and carnal pleasures of the world, 
so long as they are not in earnest [serio) 
converted unto God. 

17. Seeing that we are to judge of the 
will of God by his word, which testifies that 
the children of believers are holy, not indeed 
by nature, but by the benefit of the gracious 
covenant, in which they are comprehended 
along with their parents; pious parents ought 
not to doubt of the election and salvation of 
their children, whom God hath called in 
infancy out of this lil^e.t 

* " Furthermore, we must receive God's promises, in 
such wise, as they be g-cnerally set forth to us in holy 
Scripture, and that will of God is to be followed, which we 
have expressly declared to us in the word of God." — Art. 
xvii. Church of England. John vi. 37 — 40. 

t The salvation of the offspring of believers, dying in 
infanc}', is here scripturallv stated, and not limited to 
such as arc ba|>tizcd. Nothing is said of the children of 



18. Against those who murmur at this 
grace of gratuitous election, and the seve-' 
rity of just reprobation, we oppose this 
word of the Apostle: " man, who art thou 
that repliest against God?" Rom. ix. 20: 
And that of our Saviour: "Is it not lawful 
for me to do what I will with mine own?" 
Matt. XX. 15. We indeed, piously adoring 
these mysteries, exclaim with the Apostle: 
" Oh the depths of the riches both of the 
wisdom and knowledge of God! How un- 
searchable are his judgments and his ways 
past finding out ! For who hath known the 
mind of the Lord, or who hath been his 
Counsellor ! Or who hath first given to him, 
and it shall be recompensed to him again ! 
For of him, and through him, and to him, 
are all things: to whom be glory for ever. 

These eighteen articles concerning predes- 
tination are abbreviated by Dan. Tilenus, 

unbelievers dying in infancy; and the Scripture says no- 
thing. But why might not these Calvinists have as fa- 
vourable a hope of all infants dying before actual sin as 
Anti-Calvinists can have ? 

• A more appropriate and scriptural conclusion of these 
articles, cannot even be imagined. 



an j reporied by Heyiin. in ihe loIlowiDg sin- 
gle arucle. 


•• Thai God, by an absolute decree, hath 
elected to salvation, a rery small number 
of men without any regard to their faith and 
obedience whatsoever; and secluded from 
saving grace all the rest of mainkind, and 
appointed them by the same decree to eternal 
damnation, without any regard to their infi- 
delity and impenitency." 

I have long been aware, that there is " no 
new thing imder the sim;"' (Ecc i. 9. 10.) 
and that ~ speaking ail manner of evil false- 
ly,'* of the disciples of Christ, is no excep- 
tioo to this role: and that misrepresenting 
and slandering men called Calvinists has 
been very general, ever since the term was 
invented: but I own, I never before met 
^ith so gross, so barefaced, and inexcusable 
a misrepresentation as this, in ail my stu- 
dies of modem controversy. It can only be 
equalled by the false testimony borne against 
Jesos and his apostles, as recorded in holy 
wriL But is that cause likely to be in itself 
£ood. and of God, which needs to be sup- 
ported by so anhallowed weapons ? 


Bentrms cw zsxc«2 st vbkh 


The Orthodox doctrine of Election and 
Reprobation having been stated, the Synod 
rejects the error? of those, 

1. Who teach that « The will of God con- 
cerning the saving of those who shall be- 
lieve, and persevere in faith and the obedi- 
ence of faith- is the whole and entire decree 
of Election tinto salvation; and that there is 
nothing else whatever concerning tfab de- 
cree revealed in the word of God." For 
these persons impose upon the more simple. 
and manifestly contradict the sacred Scrip- 
tore, which testifies, not only that God will 
save those who shall believe, bat also that 
he hath chosen certain persons from eternity 
to whom, in preference to others, 'prae 
aliis he may, in time, give faith and per- 
severance: as it is written: - I have made 
k: oTTi ;hy name unto the men whom tboa 
h as: given me. ' * John iviL 6. Also, " As many 
as were ordained nnto eternal life believed.*' 
Acts xiL 48. And, ^ He hath dioseii ns be- 
fore the foocdarlon of the world, that we 
should be holy, &c." Eph. L 4. 

2. Who teach that ~ The electioB of God 



to eternal life is of different kinds {multipli- 
cem): one, general and indefinite; another, 
singular and definite: And again, this either 
incomplete, revocable, not peremptory, or 
conditional; or else complete, irrevocable, 
peremptory, or absolute." In like manner, 
" that one election is to faith, another to salva- 
tion: so that there may be an election to jus- 
tifying faith, without a peremptory election to 
salvation." This is indeed a comment excogi- 
tated by the human brain without the Scrip- 
tures, corrupting the doctrine of election, 
and dissolving this golden chain of salvation: 
" Whom he predestinated, them he also call- 
ed, whom he called, them he also justified, 
and whom he justified, them he also glori- 
fied." Rom. viii. 30.* 

3. Who teach, "That the good pleasure 
and purpose of God which the Scripture 
mentions in the doctrine of election does not 
consist in this, that God before selected cer- 
tain men above the rest {prx aliis)', but in 
this, that God chose, that from among all 

* " TJiey be called according to God's purpose by his 
Spirit working in due season ; they through grace obey 
the calling, they be justified freely, they be made the chil- 
dren of God by adoption, they be made like the image of 
the only begotten Son Jesus Christ, they walk religiously 
in good works, and at length by God's mercy tlicy attain 
to everlasting felicity." — Art. xvii. 


possible conditions, (among which are also 
the works of the law,) or from the order of 
all things, the act of faith, ignoble in itself, 
and the imperfect obedience of faith, should 
be the condition of salvation; and willed 
{voluerit) graciously to account this instead 
of perfect obedience, and to judge it of the 
reward of eternal life. For by this pernici- 
ous error, the good pleasure of God and the 
merit of Christ are enervated, and men are 
called away by unprofitable disputations, 
from the truth of gratuitous justification and 
the simplicity of the Scriptures; and that of 
the apostle is accused of falsehood: "God 
hath called us with a holy calling; not of 
works, but of his own purpose and grace, 
which was given us in Christ Jesus, before 
the world began." 2 Tim. i. 9.* 

4. Who teach that " In election to faith this 

* " We are accounted righteous before God only for the 
merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and 
not for our own works or deservings." — Art. xi. " Faith 
is the only hand which putteth on Christ unto justifica- 
tion; and Christ the only garment which, being so put on, 
covereth the shame of our defiled nature, hideth the imper- 
fection of our works, preserveth us blameless in the sight 
of God; before whom otherwise, the weakness of our faith 
were cause sufficient to make us culpable : yea, to shut us 
from the kingdom of heaven, wiiere nothing that is not 
absolute can enter." — Hooker, 'i he error refuted in this 
article, is as contrary to the doctrine of our church, as to 
that of the Synod of Dort. 


condition is pre-required, that man should 
rightly use the light of nature, that he should 
be honest, lowly, humble, and disposed for 
eternal life, as if, upon these things, in some 
measure, may election depend." For they 
savour of Pelagius, and by no means ob- 
scurely accuse the apostle of falsehood in 
writing, "Among whom we also had our 
conversation in times past, in the lusts of the 
flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of 
the mind; and were by nature the children 
of wrath, even as others. But God, who is 
rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith 
he loved us, even when we were dead in 
sins, hath made us alive together with Christ, 
(by grace ye are saved). And hath raised 
lis up together in heavenly places in Christ 
Jesus, that in the ages to come, he might 
show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his 
kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. 
For by grace are ye saved, through faith: 
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of 
God; not of works, lest any man should 
boast." Eph. ii. 3—9.* 

5. Who teach that " Election of individu- 

* This error requires from unregenerate man, and 
ascribes to nature, that wiiich is the eifcct of reg^eneration 
and grace. Prov. xvi. 1. James i. 15 — 17. Second Col- 
lect, Evening Service. 



als to salvation, incomplete and not peremp- 
tory, is made from foreseen faith, repen^r 
ance, and sanctity and piety begun, and for 
some time persevered in: but that complete 
and peremptory election is from the foreseen 
final perseverance of faith, repentance, holi- 
ness, and piety: and that this is the gracious 
and evangelical worthiness, on account of 
which, he who is elected, is more deserving 
than he who is not elected: and therefore, 
faith, the obedience of faith, holiness, piety, 
and perseverance, are not the fruits or effects 
of immutable election to glory, but the con- 
ditions and causes required before hand, and 
foreseen as if they were performed in the 
persons to be elected, without which there 
cannot be complete election." This is what 
opposes the whole Scripture, which every 
where assails {ingerit) our ears and hearts 
with these and other sayings: "Election is 
not of works, but of him thatcalleih." Rom. 
ix. 11. " As many as were ordained to eter- 
nal life, believed." Acts xiii. 48. " He chose 
us to himself that we might be holy." Eph. 
i. 4. "Ye have not chosen me, but I have 
chosen you." John xv. IG. "If it is of grace, 
it is not of works." Rom. xi. 6. " Herein is 



love; not that we loved God, but that he 
loved us, and sent his own Son." 1 John iv. 

6. Who teach that, " Not all election to 
salvation is immutable, but that some elect 
persons, no decree of God preventing [ob- 
stante), may perish, and do perish eternally." 
By which gross error, they make God muta- 
ble, subvert the consolation of the godly con- 
cerning the stability of their election, and 
contradict the sacred Scriptures, whereby we 
are taught that the elect cannot be deceived: 
Matt. xxiv. 4, that " Christ loses not those 
who were given to him by the Father." 
John vi. 39. That "those whom he (God) 
hath predestinated, called, and justified, them 
he also glorifies." Rom. viii. 30.t 

7. Who teach that " In this life there is no 
fruit, no sense, no certainty of immutable 
election to glory, except from a mutable and 
contingent condition." But, besides that it 
is absurd to mention an uncertain certainty, 
{ponere incertam certitiidinem,) these things 

* Some of the texts here adduced seem not decidedly 
conclusive, but may be otherwise explained ; but others 
might easily be substituted. Eph. ii. 4, 5, S), 10. 2 Tim. 
i. 9. James i. 17,18. 1 Pet.i. 2. 

t John X. 27—30. 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14. 1 Pet. i. 5. 23— 
25. 1 John iii. 9. v. 18. 


are opposite to the experience of the saints, 
who, with the apostle, exult in the conscious- . 
ness of their election, and celebrate this be- 
nefit of God; who rejoice with the disciples, 
according to Christ's admonition, " that their 
names are written in heaven." Luke x, 20. 
Who finally oppose the feeling of election to 
the fiery darts of diabolical temptations, in- 
quiring, " Who shall lay any thing to the 
charge of God's elect." Rom. viii. 33.* 

8. Who teach that " God has not decreed 
from his own mere just will, to leave any in 
the fall of Adam, and in the common state 
of sin and damnation, or to pass them by in 
the communication of grace necessary to 
faith and conversion." For that passage 
stands firm, " He hath mercy on whom he 
will have mercy, and whom he will he 
hardeneth." Rom. ix. 18. Also, " I glorify 
thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 

* See Article xii. on Predestination. — " The godly con- 
eideration of predestination and our election in Christ is 
full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly 
persons; and such as feel in iheinsflves the working of the 
Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and 
their earthly memhcrs, and drawing up their minds to high 
and heavenly things; as well because it doth greatly esta- 
blish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation, to be en- 
joyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle 
their love towards God." — Art. xvii. of the Church of 


for that thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent, and hast revealed them 
unto babes; even so Father, for so it hath 
pleased thee." Matt. xi. 25, 26. 

9. Who teach that " the reason why God 
sends the gospel to one nation rather than 
another is not the mere and sole good plea- 
sure of God ; but because this nation is better 
and more deserving than that to which the 
gospel is not communicated." Yet Moses 
recalls the people of Israel from this, saying, 
" Behold the heavens and the heaven of hea- 
vens is the Lord thy God's; the earth also, 
with all that therein is: only the Lord had a 
delight in thy fathers to love them; and he 
chose their seed after them, even you above 
all people, as it is this day." Deut. x. 14, 15. 
And Christ: "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! 
Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty 
works that are done in thee, had been done 
in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented 
long ago in sackcloth and ashes." Matt, 
xi. 21.* 

"That we thus think and judge, we tes- 
tify by the subscription of our hands." 

* This sliovvs tliat tlie election of jiations is really as 
opposite to tiie Anti-calvinist's ideas of divine justice as the 
election of individuals. 


Then follows a list of the names of all 
those who subscribed and attested these arti-j?^ 
cles, and refutations, among whom are found, 
George, Bishop of Landaff, John Davenant, 
Presbyter, Doctor, and public professor of 
sacred theology in the University of Cam- 
bridge, and at the same time president 
{prxses) of King's College. Samuel Ward, 
presbyter. Archdeacon Taunt omicjisis, Doc- 
tor of sacred theology, and head of Sidney 
College of the University of Cambridge. 
Thomas Goad, presbyter. Doctor of sacred 
theology, and precentor of the cathedral 
church of St. Paul, London, Walter Bal- 
canqual {Scoto-Britaiinus,) a Scotchman, 
presbyter, Batchelor of sacred theology; with 
very many others from various parts of the 
continent of Europe, amounting to above 
eighty. These were deputed by churches, 
differing from each other, in various respects, 
Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and those in 
some of the regions which are generally ac- 
counted Lutheran, and men that occupied 
the most important stations in the church 
and Universities of their several countries; 
yet they all subscribed these articles of the 
Synod, agreeing in this respect though not in 
others. For it cannot be supposed, that they 


who opposed, or were much dissatisfied with 
any of the conclusions, would thus volunta- 
rily and solemnly attest and subscribe the 
sanrie decisions. This consideration should, 
in all reason, at least induce us to give these 
articles a candid and attentive examination, 
comparing them carefully with the Scriptures 
of truth, and praying for the teaching of the 
Holy Spirit, that we may not be so left " to 
lean to our own understanding," as to reject 
and even to revile that, which perhaps may, 
in great part at least, accord with the " sure 
testimony of God." 



1. God is not only supremely merciful, 
but also supremely just. And his justice re- 
quires, (according as he hath revealed him- 
self in the word,) that our sins committed 
against his infinite majesty, should be pun- 
ished, not only with temporal, but also with 
eternal sufferings — of soul as well as of body; 
which punishment we cannot escape, unless 



the justice of God be satisfied. (Isa. xlv. 21. 
Rom. iii. 25, 26.) 

2. But as we cannot satisfy it, and deliver 
ourselves from the wrath of God, God of in- 
finite mercy gave to us his only begotten Son 
as a Surety, who, that he might make satis- 
faction for us, was made sin and a curse on 
the cross for us, or in our stead.* 

3. This death of the Son of God is a sin- 
gle and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction 
for sins; of infinite value and price, abun- 
dantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the 
whole world. t 

4. But this death is of so much value and 
price on this account; because the person 
who endured it is not only, truly and per- 
fectly a holy ]\Ian, but also, the only begot- 
ten Son of God, of the same eternal and in- 
finite essence with God the Father and the 
Holy Spirit, such as it behoved our Saviour 
to be. Finally, because his death was con- 
joined with the feeling of the wrath and 
curse of God, which we by our sins had de- 

» Isa. liii. 4—6. 10, II. 2 Cor. v. 21. Gal. iii. 13. 
1 Pet. ii. 24. iii. 18. 

t John i. 29. 1 John ii. 2. Prayer of consecration. 
Communion Service. Catechism, second instruction from 
the articles of the creed, 


5. Moreover, the promise of the gospel is, 
that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified, 
shall not perish, but have everlasting life. 
Which promise ought to be announced and 
proposed, promiscuously and indiscriminate- 
ly, to all nations and men to whom God, in 
his good pleasure, hath sent the gospel, with 
the command to repent and believe. 

6. But because many who are called by 
the gospel do not repent, nor believe in 
Christ, but perish in unbelief; this doth not 
arise from defect or insutficiency of the sacri- 
fice offered by Christ upon the cross, but from 
their own fault. (John iii. 19, 20. v. 44. 
Heb. iii. 5.) 

7. But to as many as truly believe, and 
through the death of Christ are delivered 
and saved from sin and condemiiation, this 
benefit comes from the sole grace of God, 
which he owes to no man, given them in 
Christ from eternity. ' 

* John i. 12. 1 Cor. xv. 10. Phil. i. 29. 2 Thess. ii. 
11 — 14. "We believe, tliat God, (after that the whole 
race of Adam liad been thus precipitated into perdition 
and destruction, by the fault of the first man,) demonstra- 
ted himself to be such as he is in reality, and to have act- 
ed as such, {piastilisse) namely, botii merciful and just; 
MERCIFUL indeed in delivering and saving from damnation 
and death, {iuteriti/,), whom in his eternal counsel, 
according to his gratuitous goodness by Jesus Ciirist our 
Lord, he elected, without any respect to their works : but 

SYX0'*D OF DORT. 285 

S. For this was the most free counsel, and 
gracious will and intention of God the Fa- 
ther, that the life-giving and saving efficacy, 
of the most precious death of his own Son, 
should exert itself in all the elect, in order to 
give them alone justifying faith, and thereby 
to lead them to eternal life: that is, God will- 
ed that Christ, through the blood of the cross, 
(by which he confirmed the new covenant,) 
should, out of every people, tribe, nation, 
and language, efficaciously redeem all those, 
and those only, who were from eternity 
chosen to salvation, and given to him by the 
Father; that he should confer on them the 
gift of faith; (which, as well as other saving 
gifts of the Holy Spirit, he obtained by his 
death;) that he should cleanse them by his 
own blood from all sins, both original and 
actual, committed after, as well as before 
faith; that he should preserve them faithful- 
ly to the end; and at length present them 
glorious before himself without any spot and 

9. This counsel, having proceeded from 

JUST, in leaving others in that their own fall and perdition, 
into which they had cast themselves headlong." Belgic 
Confession, Article xvi. 

• John vi. 37—40. 44. 65. Eph. v, 25—27. 1 Pet. i. 
2—5. Rev. V. 9, 10. 



eternal love to the Elect, from the begiiinhig 
of the world to this present time, the gates 
of hell in vain striving against it, has been 
mightily fulfilled, and will henceforth also 
be fulfilled: so that indeed the elect may in 
their time be gathered together in one, and 
that there may always be some church of 
believers founded in the blood of Christ, who 
may constantly love the Saviour, who for 
her, as a Bridegroom for his bride, gave up 
his soul upon the cross; and perseveringiy 
worship and celebrate him, here and to all 

These nine articles are thus abbreviated 
by Tilenus and Heylin. 

Art. II. Of the Merit and Effect of 
Christ's Death. 

" That Jesus Christ hath not suffered death, 
but for those elect only; having neither any 
intent nor commandment from the Father, 
to make satisfaction for the sins of the whole 
world." (See Articles iv. v.) 


The orthodox doctrine having been ex- 
plained, the Synod rejects the errors of those, 


1. Who teach, « That God the Father des- 
tined his own Son unto the death of the cross^^ 
without a certain and definite counsel of sav- 
ing any one by name, {nominatim), (Rev. 
xiii, S. xvii. 8. xx. 15,) so that its own ne- 
cessity, utility, and meritoriousness, {digni- 
tas) might be established unimpaired {sarta 
fecta) to the benefit obtained {impetrationi) 
by the death of Christ, and be perfect in its 
measures {numeris,) and complete and en- 
tire, even if the obtained redemption had not, 
in fact, been applied to any individual." 
For this assertion is contumelious to the wis- 
dom of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, 
and is contrary to Scripture ; as the Saviour 
says: " I lay down my life for the sheep, and 
I know them," John x. 15, 27. And the 
prophet Isaiah concerning the Saviour: 
" When he shall give hitpself a sacrifice for 
sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his 
days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper 
in his hand." Is. liii. 10. And finally it over- 
turns the article of faith by which we "be- 
lieve the church."* 

2. Who teach " That this was not the end 

* For in this case there might possibly have been no 
" Church of God, which he liath purchased with his own 
blood." Acts XX. 28. 


of the death of Christ, that he might, in verv 
deed, confirm the new covenant of grace 
through his blood; but only that he might 
acquire a bare right to the Father of enter- 
ing again into some covenant with men. 
either of grace or of works." For this con- 
tradicts the Scripture, which teaches, that 
" Christ is become the Surety and Mediator 
of a better covenant." Heb. vii. 22. And a 
testament is at length ratified in those that 
are dead. Heb. ix. 15, 17.* 

3. Who teach that " Christ, by his satis- 
faction did not with certainty (certo) merit 
that very salvation and faith, by which this 
satisfaction of Christ may be effectually ap- 
plied unto salvation; but only that he ac- 
quired to the Father, power, and a plenary 
will, of acting anew with men, and of pre- 
scribing whatever new conditions he willed, 
the performance of which might depend on 
the free will of man : and therefore it might 
so happen either that none or that all might 
fulfil them." Now these think far too meanly 
of the death of Christ; they in no wise ac- 
knowledge the principal fruit, or benefit ob- 

*Isa.xlii. 6. xlix.8. Dan.ix.27. Matt. xxvi. 28. Mark 
xiv. 24. Gr. Heb. ix. 13—23. xiii. 20. 

SYNa» OF DORT. 289 

tained by it, and recall from hell the Pelagian 

4. Who teach that " That new covenant 
of grace, which God the Father, through the 
intervention of the death of Christ, hath rati- 
fied with men, does not consist in this, that 
by faith, so far as it apprehends the merit of 
Christ, we are justified before God and saved; 
but in this, that God, having abrogated the 
exaction of perfect legal obedience, imputes 
[reputet) faith itself, and the imperfect obe- 
dience of faith, for the perfect obedience of 
the law, and graciously reckons it as deserv- 
ing of the reward of eternal life." For 
these contradict the Scripture: "They are 
justified freely by his grace, through the re- 
demption made in Jesus Christ, whom God 
hath set forth as a propitiation, through faith 
in his blood." Rom. iii. 24, 25. t 

* That so large a body of learned theologians, collected 
from various churches, should unanimously, and without 
hesitation, and in so strong language, declare the error 
here rejected, to be the revival of the Pelagian heresy, 
may indeed astonish and disgust numbers in our age and 
land, who oppose something, at least exceedingly like tiiis 
against the doctrmes called evangelical; but it should lead 
them to reflect on the subject, and to pray over it. Are 
they not, in opposing Calvinism, reviving and propagating 
the heresy of Pelagius ? 

t" We of good reason and right, say with divine Paul, 
" That we are justified by faith alone," or "by faith with- 
out the works of the law." But, properly speaking, we by 



5. Who teach that "All men are taken 
into a state of reconciliation and the grace 
of the covenant; so that no one on account 
of original sin is liable to damnation, or to be 
damned; but that all are exempt from the 
condemnation of this sin." For this opinion 
opposes the Scripture, affirming, that "By- 
nature we are the children of wrath."* 

no means understand, that faith by itself, or of itself, justi- 
fies us ; seeing it is that which becomes indeed as an in- 
strument, by which we apprehend Christ our Righteous- 
ness. Christ tlierefore liimself is our Righteousness, who 
imputes unto us all his own merits : but faith is an instru- 
ment, by which we are joined to him in the society or 
communion of all his goods, and are retained in it: inso- 
much that all these having been made ours, are more than 
sufficient for us for our absolution from sins." Belgic Con- 
fession, Art. xxii. 

* See on the third article of the Rejection of Errors, 
concerning divine Predestination. " Original sin, the fault 
and corruption of every man that is naturally engendered 
of the offspring of Adam, in every person born into this 
world, deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And al- 
though there is no condemnation for them that believe, 
and are baptized ; yet the apostle doth confess, that con- 
cupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin." Art. 
ix. Church of England. 

"We believe, that the disobedience of Adam's sin, which 
they call original, (originis,) hath been spread abroad, and 
poured out upon the whole human race. But original sin 
is the corruption of the whole nature, and hereditary vice, 
by which even infants themselves, in the mother's womb 
are polluted: and which, as a certain noxious root, shoots 
forth {progerminat) every kind of sins in man; and is so 
base and execrable before God, that it suffices lor the con- 
demnation of the whole human race. Neither is it to be 
believed, that it is entirely extinguished or pulled up by 
the roots in baptism ; seeing that from it, as from a cor- 
rupt fountain, perpetual streams and rivulets continually 

S Y N O » OF DORT. 291 

6. Who usurp the distinction of impetra- 
tion and application, that they may instil this 
opinion into the unwary and inexperienced; 
that God, as far as pertained to him, had 
willed to confer equally upon all men the 
benefits which were acquired by the death 
of Christ: and that some rather than others 
{prx aliis) should be partakers of the remis- 
sion of sins and eternal life, this discrimina- 
tion depended on their free will, applyhig to 
themselves of the grace inditferenlly otTered; 
not from an especial gift of mercy operating 
etltictually in them, that they, rather than 
others, should apply to themselves this grace. 
For these, while they pretend to propose to 
themselves this distinction in a wholesome 
sense, endeavour to give the people a taste 
of the pernicious poison of Pelagianism.* 

arise and flow forth ; though it does not fall out to con- 
demnation, and is not imputed, to the children of God: but 
is remitted to them by the pure grace and mercy of God: 
not that they should fall asleep confiding in tliis remission ; 
but that it should excite the more frequent groans {gemi- 
lus) in the faithful; and that they should more ardently 
desire to be freed from this body of death. Hence we 
condemn the error of tlie Pelagians, wlio assert, that ori- 
ginal sin is nothing but imitation." Phil. ii. 13. John 
XV. 5. Psalm li. 7. Rom. iii. 10 Gen vi. 3. John iii. 6. 
Rom. V. 14. Eph. ii. 5. Rom. vii. 18 — 24. Belgic Con- 

« 1 Cor. XV. 10 Eph. ii 3—6. Tit. iii. 4—6. Art. x. 
of the Church of England, on Free-will. 

" We believe, that the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts 


7. Who teach that " Christ neither could 
nor ought to die, neither did he die, for those 
whom God especially {summe) loved and 
chose to eternal life, when to such there was 
no need of the death of Christ." For they 
contradict the apostle, saying, " Christ loved 
me, and gave himself for me." Gal. ii. 20. 
Also, " Who can lay any thing to the charge 
of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ 
who died:" Rom. viii. 32, 34, doubtless, for 
them. And the Saviour who declared, " I 
lay down my life for my sheep." John x. 15. 
And, " This is my conmiand, that ye love 
one another, as I have loved you; greater 
love hath no man than this, that he lay down 
his life for his friends." John xv. 12, 13. 



1. Man, from the beginning was created 
in the image of God, adorned in his mind, 

imparts unto us true faith, that we may attain to the true 
knowledge of this so great a mystery ; which faith embra- 
ce.s Jesus Christ, with all liis merits, and claims it to itself, 
as its proper effect, and seeks thenceforth nothing beyond 
him. Belgic Confession, Art. xxii. 


with the true and saving knowledge of his 
Creator and of spiritual things, with righte- 
ousness in his will and heart, and purity in 
all his affections, and thus was altogether 
holy; but, by the instigation of the devil and 
his own free will (libera sua voluntate,) re- 
volting from God, he bereaved himself of 
these inestimable gifts; and, on the contrary, 
in their place, contracted in himself blind- 
ness, horrible darkness, and perversity of 
judgment in the mind; malice, rebellion, 
hardness, in the will and heart; and finally, 
impurity in all his affections. 

2. And such as man was after the fall, 
such children also he begat: namely, being 
corrupted, corrupt ones; corruption having 
been derived from Adam to all his posterity, 
(Christ only excepted,) not by imitation as 
the Pelagians formerly would have it, but by 
the propagation of a vicious nature, through 
the just judgment of God.* 

* " Hence, we condemn the error of the Pelagians, who 
assert that this original sin (peccatum originis) is no other 
thing than imitation." Belgic Confession, Art. xv. 

" Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam 
(in imitatione Adami) as the Pelagians do vainly talk 
{fabulantur); but it is the fault and corruption of the 
nature of every man, tliat naturally is engendered of the 
offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone {quam 
longissime dislet) from original righteousness, and is of 


3. Therefore, all men are conceived in sin. 
and born the children of wrath, indisposed 
(inepti) to all saving good, propense to evil, 
dead in sins, and the slaves of sin ; and, with- 
out the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit, 
they neither are willing nor able to return to 
God, to correct their depraved nature, or to 
dispose themselves to the correction of it. * 

4. There is indeed remaining in man, since 
the fall, some light of nature, by the help of 
which, he retains certain notions concerning 
God and natural things; concerning the dif- 
ference of things honourable and shameful, 
and manifests some desire after virtue and 
external discipline: but, so far from his be- 
ing able, by .this light of nature, to attaui to 
the savirtg knowledge of God, or to turn him- 
self to him, he does not use it rightly in na- 
tural and civil things: nay, indeed, whatever 
thing It may at length be, he contaminates it 
all in various ways, and holds it in unrighte- 
ousness, which when he does he is rendered 
inexcusable before God.t 

his own nature inclined to evil, &c. Art. ix. Church of 

* t^ee on Rejection of Errors, Chap. ii. Art. 6. 

t Man, by the fall " entirely withdrew himself from 
God, (his true life,) and alienated himself, his nature hav- 
ing been wholly vitiated and corrupted by his sin; by 
which it came to pass, that he rendered himself obnoxious. 


5. The reason (or purport or purpose, 
ratio) of the decalogue, particularly deliver-^ 
ed from God, by Moses, to the Jews, is the 
same as that of the light of nature ; for when 
indeed it exposes the magnitude of sin, and 
more and more convicts man of guilt; yet it 
neither discloses a remedy, nor confers the 
power of emerging from misery; so that, be- 
ing rendered weak through the transgression 
of the flesh, it leaves him under the curse, 
and man cannot through it obtain saving 

6. What, therefore, neither the light of 
nature nor the law could do, that God per- 
forms by the power of the Holy Spirit, 
through the word, or the ministry of recon- 
ciliation; which is the Gospel concerning the 
Messiali, by which it hath pleased God to 
save believers, as well under the Old, as un- 
der the New Testament.! 

as well to corporeal, as to spiritual death. Therefore hav- 
ing become wicked and perverse, and in all his ways and 
pursuits (sludiis) corrupt, he lost all those excellent gifts, 
with which he (God) had adorned him ; so that only small 
sparks and slender remains {vestigia) of them are left to 
him, which yet suffice to render men inexcusable; be- 
cause whatever there is in us of litjlit, hatli been turned 
into blind darkness " Koin. i. 18. 20. ii. 1. 12. 16. Eph. 
iv. 17 — 19. Belgic Confession, Art. xiv. 

* Rom. iii. 20. v. 2u. viii. 3. 2 Cor. iii. 7. 9. Gal. iii. 
10. 22. 

t Rom. viii. 3. Gal. iii. 22. Hcb. iv. 1, 2. xi. 7. Both 


7. God revealed this mystery of his own 
will to fewer persons under the Old Testa- 
ment; but now, the distinction of people be- 
ing taken away, he manifests it to more. 
The cause of which dispensation is not to be 
ascribed to the dignity (or worthiness) of one 
nation above another, or to the better use of 
the light of nature; but to the most free good 
pleasure and gratuitous love of God. — There- 
fore they to whom, beyond and contrary to 
all merit, such grace is given {Jit) ought to 
acknowledge it with a humble and thankful 
heart; in respect of the rest to whom this 
grace is not given, to adore with the apostle 
the severity and justice of the judgments of 
God, but by no means to scrutinize them 

S. But as many as are invited by the gos- 
pel, are invited sincerely (or in earnest, se- 
rio). For sincerely and most truly God 
shows in his word, what is pleasing to him; 
namely, that they who are called should 
come to him. And he sincerely promises to 

in " the Old and New Testament, everlasting life is offered 
to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between 
God and man, being both God and man." — Art. vii. Church 
of England. 

* See Rejection of Errors on first chapter, Art. ix. 


all who come to him, and beUeve, the peace 
of their souls and eterhal life.* 

9. That many, who are called by the min-'' 
istry of the gospel, do not come and are not 
converted, the fault of this is not in the gos- 
pel, nor in Christ offered by the gospel, nor 
in God inviting by the gospel, and conferring 
various gifts on them; but in the persons 
themselves who are invited: some of whom 
being regardless, (or unconcerned securi,) do 
not admit the word of eternal life: others in- 
deed admit it, {admiitunt,) but do not re- 
ceive {inirtiittunt) it into their heart, so that 
they turn back after an evanescent joy of 
temporary faith; and others choke the seed 
of the word with the thorns of the cares and 
pleasures of the world, and bring forth no 
fruit: as our Saviour teaches us in the para- 
ble of the sower. Matt, xiii.t 

10. And that others, who are called by the 
ministry of the gospel, do come and are con- 
verted, this is not to be ascribed to man, as 
if distinguishing himself by free-will {libera 
arbitrio) from others, furnished with equal 

* Matt. xxii. 4—10, John vi. 37—40. Rev. xxi. 6. 
xxii. 17. 

tLuke vii. 12—15. John iii. 19—21. Heb. iii. 12. 
Gr. iv.2. 



or sufficient grace for faith and conversion, 
(which the proud heresy of Pelagius states,) 
but to God, who, as he chose his own peo- 
ple in Christ from eternity, so he also effect- 
ually calls them in time; gives them repent- 
ance and faith; and, having been rescued 
{erutos) from the power of darkness, trans- 
lates them into the kingdom of his Son, that 
they may declare his energies {virtiiies) who 
called them out of darkness into this marvel- 
lous light ; and glory, not in themselves but in 
God: — the apostolic Scripture every where 
testifying this.* 

* Whatever things are delivered to us concerning the 
free-will (libero arbitrio) of man, these we deservedly re- 
ject; because he is the slave of sin ; and man can do no- 
thing of himself, unless it hath been given to him from 
heaven. For who will dare to boast that he can perform 
whatsoever things he shall will; when Christ himself 
saith, " No one can come unto me, except the Father who 
sent me, shall draw him ?" Who will boast his own will, 
who hears, that " the affections of the flesh are enmities 
against God ?" Who will glory in his understanding, who 
knows that the animal man is not capable of those things 
which are of the Spirit of God ? In fine, who will bring 
forward (proferat in medium) any thouglit of his own, 
who understands, that " we are not suiiicient of ourselves 
to think any thing as of ourselves," but that we are suffi- 
cient, all this is of God? That which the apostle hath 
said ought to remain certain and firm : " It is God who 
worketh in us, both that we may be willing, and that we 
may effect {it) of his own most gratuitous benevolence." 
Phil. ii. 13. For no mind, no will acquiesces in the will of 
God, in which Christ himself hath not first worked ; which 
he also teachcth, saying, " Without me ye arc able to do 
nothing." John xv. 5. Belgic Confession, Art. xiv. 


11. But, when God performs his good 
pleasure in his elect, or works in them true 
conversion, he not only provides that the 
gospel should be outwardly preached to them, 
and that their mind should be powerfully 
illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that they 
may rightly understand, and judge what are 
the things of the Spirit of God; but he also, 
by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spi- 
rit, penetrates into the innermost recesses of 
man, opens his closed heart, softens his ob- 
durate heart, circumcises his uncircumcised 
heart, infuses new qualities into his will, 
makes that which had been dead alive, that 
which was evil good, that which had been 
unwilling willing, and from being refractory, 
obedient; and leads and strengthens it, that 
as a good tree, it may be able to bring forth 
the fruit of good works.* 

12. And this is that regeneration, which is 
so much declared in the Scriptures, a new 
creation, a resurrection from the dead, a giv- 
ing of life, {invificatio,) which God without 
us, (that is, without our concurrence) work- 

* Deut. XXX. 6. Ps. ex. 3. Bible translation. Jer. xxxi. 
33 xxxii. 39. Ez. xi. 19, xxxvi. 25, 26. Zech. xii. 10, 
Matt. xi. 25, 26. John i. 12. iii.. 3—6. vi. 44, 45. 65. 
Eph. ii. 4, 5. Phil. i. 13. Col. i. 13. 1 Thess. ii. 13, 14. 
Tit. iii. 4— 6. 1 Pet. i. 3. ii. 9, 10. 



eth in us. And this is by no means efiected 
by the doctrine alone sounding ivithout, by 
moral suasion, or by such a mode of work- 
ing, that after the operation of God (as far 
as he is concerned) it should remain in the 
power of man, to be regenerated or not re- 
generated, converted or not converted ; but 
it is manifestly an operation supernatural, at 
the same time most powerful, and most sweet, 
wonderful, secret, and ineflable in its power, 
according to the Scripture (which is inspired 
by the Author of this operation) not less 
than, or inferior to, creation, or the resurrec- 
tion of the dead: so that all those, in whose 
hearts God works in this admirable manner, 
are certainly, infallibly, and efficaciously re- 
generated, and in fact (actu) believe.* And 
thus their will, being now renewed, is not 
only influenced and moved by God, but be- 
ing acted on by God, itself acts and moves. 
Wherefore, the man himself, through this 
grace received, is rightly said to believe and 

13. Believers cannot in this life, fully coni- 

* John V. 21. 24, 25. Kom. vi. 4—6. viii. 2. 2 Cor. 
V. 17, 18. Gal. vi. 15. Eph. i. ID, 20. ii. 6. 10. Col. ii. 
12, 13. iii. 1. 

t Jer. xxxi. 18, 19. Actsiii. 19. v.3I. Rom. viii. 13. 
2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. 1 Pet. i. 22. 


prehend the manner of this operation : in the 
mean time they acquiesce in it; because, by 
this grace of God, they know and feel, that 
they beheve in their heart and love their Sa- 

14. Thus, therefore, faith is the gift of 
God; not in that it is offered to the will of 
man by God, but that the thing itself is con- 
ferred on him, inspired, infused into him. 
Not even that God only confers the power 
of believing, but from thence expects the 
consent, or the act of believing: but that 
he, who worketh both to will and to do, 
worketli in man both to Avill to believe, and 
to believe itself, {et velle credere et ipsum 
credere,) and thus he worketh all things in 

15. This grace God owes to no one. For 
what can he owe to him, who is able to give 
nothing first, that he may be recompensed? 
(Rom. xi. 35.) Nay, what can he owe to him, 
who has nothing of his own but sin and a 
lie ? He, therefore, who receives this grace, 
owes and renders everlasting thanks to God: 
he who receives it not, either does not care 
for those spiritual things, and rests satisfied 

* " We believe that the Holy Spirit dwelling in our 
hearts doth impart to us true faith." Belgic Confession, 
Art. xxii. 



within himself; or, being secure, he vainly 
glories that he possesses, what he has not. 
Moreover concerning those who outwardly 
profess faith and amend their lives, it is best 
to judge and speak after the example of the 
apostles; for the inmost recesses {penetralia) 
of the heart, are to us impenetrable. As for 
those who have not yet been called, it be- 
hoves us to pray to God, who calls the things 
which are not, as though they were: but in 
no wise are we to act proudly against them 
{adversus superbiendum eos est) as if we had 
made ourselves to differ. (Rom. xi. IS — 20. 
1 Cor. iv. 6, 7.) 

16. But in like manner, as by the fall man 
does not cease to be man, endowed with in- 
tellect and will, neither hath sin, which has 
pervaded the whole human race, taken away 
the nature of the human species, but it hath 
depraved and spiritually stained it; so even 
this divine grace of regeneration does not 
act upon men like stocks and trees, nor take 
away the proprieties (or properties, /Jrc>;?r^e- 
tates) of his will, or violently compel it while 
unwilling; but it spiritually quickens, (or 
vivifies,) heals, corrects, and sweetly, and at 
the same time, powerfully inclines it: so that 
whereas before it was wholly governed by 


the rebellion and resistance of the flesh, now, 
prompt and sincere obedience of the Spirit 
may begin to reign; in which the renewal of 
our spiritual will and our liberty truly con- 
sist. In which manner, (or for which rea- 
son,) unless the admirable Author of all good 
should work in us, there could be no hope 
to man of rising from the fall, by that/ree- 
will, by which when standing he fell into 

17. But in the same manner as the om- 
nipotent operation of God, whereby he pro- 
duces and supports our natural life, doth not 
exclude, but require the use of means, by 
which God in his infinite wisdom and good- 
ness sees fit to exercise this his power: so 
this fore-mentioned supernatural power of 
God by which he regenerates us, in no wise 
excludes, or sets aside the use of the gospel, 
which the most wise God hath ordained as 
the seed of regeneration and the food of the 
soul. Wherefore, as the apostles, and those 
teachers who followed ihem, have piously 

* A more lucid and scriptviral exposition of the effica- 
cious influence, by wliich the regenerating, life-giving, 
illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit, draws, teaches, and 
inclines the heart, to willing and sweet submission and 
obedience, can hardly be produced from any writer. 2 
Cor. X. 5. 



instructed the people concerning this grace 
of God, in order to his glory and to the keep- 
ing down of all pride; in the mean time 
neither have they neglected (being admon- 
ished by the holy gospel) to keep them un- 
der the exercise of the word, the sacraments, 
and discipline: so then, be it far from us, that 
teachers or learners in the church should 
presume to tempt God, by separating those 
things, which God, of his own good plea- 
sure, would have most closely united to- 
gether. For grace is conferred through ad- 
monitions, and the more promptly we do 
our duty, the more illustrious the benefit of 
God, who worketh in us, is wont to be, and 
the most rightly doth his work proceed. 
To whom alone, all the glory, both of the 
means and their beneficial fruits and efficacy, 
is due for everlasting. Amen.* 

These seventeen articles are abbreviated, 
as above stated, in these two that follow. 

Art. III.— 0/ Mans Will in a State of 

" That by Adam's fall his posterity lost 
their free-will, being put to an unavoidable 

* Can any statement be more rational, unexceptionable, 
and scriptural than tliis is ? 


necessity to do, or not to do, whatsoever they 
do or do not, whether it be good or evil; 
being thereunto predestinated by the eternal 
and effectual secret decree of God." 

Art. IV. Of the Manner of Conversion. 

" That God, to save his elect from the cor- 
rupt mass, doth beget faith in them, by a 
power equal to that whereby he created the 
world and raised up the dead: insomuch, 
that such unto whom he gives grace cannot 
reject, and the rest, being reprobate, cannot 
accept it."* 


The orthodox doctrine having been set 
forth, the Synod rejects the errors of those, 

I. Who teach that " It cannot properly be 
said, that original sin, {peccatinn originis,) 
suffices of itself for the condemnation of the 
whole human race, or the desert of temporal 
and eternal punishments:" For they con- 
tradict the apostle, who says, Rom. v. 12, 

■* Let the candid reader compare carefully the seven- 
teen articles above given, witii these two abbreviated arti- 
cles, and then judge lor himself, whether such a re|K)rter 
deserves even the least credit or confidence. 


" By one man sin entered into the world, and 
death by sin; and so death passed upon all 
men, for that all have sinned." And ver. 16. 
" By one man the offence entered unto con- 
demnation." Also, Rom. vi. 23. "The 
wages of sin is death."* 

2. Who teach that " Spiritual gifts, or good 
habits and virtues, such as kindness, sanc- 
tity, and justice, could have no place in the 
will of man when he was first created, and 
therefore, neither in the fall, could they be 
separated from it." For this opposes, {pug- 
nat eum) the description of the image of 
God, which the apostle states in Eph. iv. 24, 
where he describes it, (as consisting,) " in 
righteousness and holiness," which have a 
place in the will altogether. 

3. Who teach that " Spiritual gifts are not 
separated from the will of man in spiritual 
death, as it, (the will,) never was corrupted 
in itself, but only impeded by the darkness 
of the mind, and the irregularity of the affec- 

* " Original sin Is so base and execrable, that it suffices 
to the condemnation of the whole human race." Belgic 
Confession, Art. xv. "God saw that man had so cast him- 
self into the condemnation of death, both corporeal and 
spiritual, and was made altogether n)iserablc and accurs- 
ed." Ibid. Art. xvii. "In every person born into the 
world, it deserveth God's wratli and damnation." Art. ix. 
Church of England. 



tions; which impediments being removed, it 
may be able to exert the free power planted 
[insitam) in it; that is, it might of itself will 
or choose, or not will or choose, whatever 
good was proposed to it." Tiiis is new and 
erroneous; even so far as it causes the power 
of free-will to be exalted, against the words 
of the prophet, Jeremiah xvii. 9: " The heart 
is deceitful above all things and perverse:" 
and the apostle, Eph. ii. 3: "Among whom, 
(contumacious men,) we all had our conver- 
sation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, 
fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the 

4. Who teach that " Man unregenerate is 
neither properly nor totally dead in sins, or 
destitute of all power for what is spiritually 
good; but that he can hunger and thirst after 
righteousness or life, and off'er the sacrifice 
of a broken and contrite spirit, which is ac- 
cepted by God:" For these things are con- 

* " The apostle says, that ' it is God, who worketh in 
us, botli that we should will, and that wc should do, of liis 
own free benevolence;' for no mind, no will, acquiesces 
in the will of God, in which Christ himself hath not first 
operated." Bcl<>-ic Confession, Art. xiv. "We have no 
power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, 
without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that 
we may liavc a good will; and working with us, when we 
have that good will." Art. x. Church of England. 



trary to the open testimonies of Scripture. 
Eplies. ii. 14: " Ye were dead in trespasses 
and sins." And Gen. vi. 5. and viii. 21: 
"The imagination of the thoughts of man's 
heart is only evil continually." Moreover, 
to hunger and thirst after deliverance from 
misery, and for life — and to offer unto God, 
the sacrifice of a contrite spirit, is the part of 
the regenerate, and of those who are said to 
be blessed. Ps. li. 19. 1 Chron. xxix. 14. 
Matt. V. 6. 

5. Who teach that " Man, corrupt, animal, 
(■:^vzi'XOi) can so rightly use common grace, 
which in them is the light of nature, and the 
gifts remaining after the fall, that by this 
good use he may obtain greater grace, for 
instance, evangelical or saving, and gradu- 
ally may obtain salvation itself: And on this 
account God hath showed himself ready, on 
his part, to reveal Christ to all, seeing that 
he administers to all, sufficiently and effica- 
ciously, the necessary means to the revela- 
tion of Christ, faith and repentance." For, 
besides the experience of all ages, this is tes- 
tified to be false by the Scripture: Ps. cxlvii. 
19, 20. " He showeth his words unto Jacob, 
his statutes and laws unto Israel: he hath 
not done so unto any other people, neither 


have they known his laws." Acts xvi, 16. 
" God permitted in past ages all the nations 
to walk in their own ways." Acts xvi. 6, 
7. " They were forbidden (Paul and his 
companions) by the Holy Ghost to preach 
the word of God in Asia." And, " When 
they were come into Mysia, they endea- 
voured to go towards Bithynia, but the 
Spirit suffered them not. * 

* The matter of fact, tliat all those, who enjoy the means 
of grace in the greatest abundance, do not profit by them; 
is as undeniable, as that all nations are not favoured with 
the means of grace: but to speak of those things as suffi. 
rient and rfficacious, which in the case of a vast majority 
l)rove insufficient and inefficacious, must surely be unrea- 
sonable ; especially as to thcni the Gospel itself proves "a 
savour of death unto death." That " Paul may plant and 
Apollos may water," but that God alone can give " the in- 
crease," is most manifest to those, who have tlie deepest 
experience, and have made the most accurate and long- 
continued observation, on the event of the wisest, most 
loving, and most Scriptural instructions. 1 Cor. iii. G, 7. — 
Enougli has been quoted from the Bclgic Confession to 
show that this error was as contrary to that document, as 
to any article of the Synod of Dort. — "The condition of 
man after the fall of Adam, is sucii, that he cannot turn 
or jtrepare himself, by his own natural strength and good 
works, to faith and calling upon God." " Works done 
before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of his Spi- 
rit, arc not pleasant to God; forasmuch as they spring not 
of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do tiiey make men meet 
to receive grace, or (as the school authors say) deserve 
grace of eongruiiy; yea rather for that they arc not done 
as God hath willed and eonmianded them to be done, we 
doubt not but they have the nature of sin." Art. x. xiii. 
Ch. of Eng. — He, who is well versed in tliis controversy, 
is aware, that the doctrine here condemned, comprises the 
very hinge, on which the whole turns : ii false, Culvinists 



6. Who teach, that " In the true conversion 
of man, there cannot be new quaUties, ha- 
bits, or gifts, infused by God into his will: 
and so faith, by which we are first converted, 
and from which we are called the faithful, is 
not a quality or gift infused by God ; but only 
an act of man, nor can it be otherwise called 
a gift, than with respect to the power of at- 
taining it." For these contradict the holy 
Scriptures, which testify that God doth in- 
fuse new qualities of faith, obedience, and a 
sense of his love into our hearts. Jer. xxxi. 
33. " I will put my law into their mind and 
will write it in their heart." Isa. xliv. 3. " I 
will pour water on him that is a-thirst, and 
rivers upon the dry ground; I will pour out 
my Spirit on thy seed." Rom. v. 5. "The 
love of God which is shed abroad in our 
hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to 
us." They also contradict the constant prac- 
tice of the church, according to the prophet, 
praying — " Convert thou me, and I shall be 
converted." Jer. xxxi. 18, 19. (Ez. xi. 19, 
20. xxxvi. 25—27. Eph. i. 19, 20. ii. 8— 

7. Who teach, " That the grace, by which 

(in the modern use of the word) are right: if ^rwe, Aiiti- 
calvinists are right, 


we are converted to God, is nothing else'' 
than gentle suasion; or (as others explain it) 
the most noble method of acting in the con- 
version of man, and the most suitable {con- 
venientissimum) to human nature, is that 
which is done by suasions, and that nothing 
hinders that moral grace alone should render 
animal {natural, ■^vx^'xov) men spiritual; in- 
deed God produces the consent of the will no 
otherwise than by moral reason; and the effi- 
cacy of divine grace, by which he overcomes 
the operation of Satan, consists in this, that 
God promises eternal benefits, and Satan 
temporal ones." For this is altogether Pe- 
lagian, and contrary to the whole Scripture, 
which, besides this, acknowledges also an- 
other, and far more effectual and divine mode 
of acting of the Holy Spirit in man's conver- 
sion. Ezek. xxxvi. 26. " I will give you a 
new heart, and I will put a new spirit with- 
in you; and I will take away the heart of 
stone and give you a heart of flesh, &c." — 
•' Except a man be born again he cannot see 
the kingdom of God." John iii. 3 — 6. " The 
natural man {■^vx^^xoi;) receiveth not the things 
of the Spirit of God, neither can he know 
them, because they are spiritually discern- 
ed." 1 Cor. ii. 14. 


8. Who teach that " God does not apply 
those powers of his own omnipotence iu the 
regeneration of man, by which he mightily 
and infallibly bends his will to faith and 
conversion; but all the operations of grace 
having been employed [positis) which God 
makes use of in man's conversion, man ne- 
vertheless can so resist God and the Spirit, 
intending his regeneration and willing to 
regenerate him, and in very deed {ipso actu) 
often doth so resist, as entirely to hinder his 
own regeneration, and thus it remains in his 
own power, whether he will be regenerated 
or not." For this is no other than taking 
away all the efficacy of God's grace in our 
conversion, and subjecting the act of Al- 
mighty God to the will of man, and contra- 
dicts the apostles, who teach that " We be- 
lieve through the efficacy of the mighty 
power of God." Ephes, i. 19, and that " God 
fills up in us the good pleasure of his good- 
ness, and the work of faith with power.'" 
2 Thess. i, 1 1 . Also, that " His divine power 
hath given us all things which pertain to life 
and godliness. 2 Pet. i. 3. '• Thy people 
shall be willing in the day of thy power." 
" It is God that woriceth in us both to will 
and to do." The want of the willing mind 



is the grand thing wanting, and until this is 
wrought in us, we "do always resist the 
Holy Ghost." Ps. ex. 4. Phil. i. 13. 

9. Who teach that " Grace and free-will 
are partial causes concurring at the same 
time, to the beginning of conversion; nor 
doth grace, in the order of causaUty, precede 
the efficacy of the will: that is, God does not 
effectually help the will of man to conver- 
sion, before the will of man moves and de- 
termines itself." For this dogma the an- 
cient church long ago condemned in Pelagi- 
ans, from the apostle, Rom. ix. 16. "It is 
not of him that willeth, nor of him that run 
neth, but of God that showeth mercy." And 
1 Cor. iv. 7. "Who maketh thee to differ? 
And what hast thou that thou didst not re- 
ceive?" Also, Phil. ii. 13. "It is God who 
worketh in you this very thing, to will and 
to do of his good pleasure."* 

* " Almighty God, wc humbly bcseecli thee, that, as 
by thy special grace preventing vs, thou dost put into our 
minds good desires, so, dtc." (Collect. East. Sund. Ch. 


CHAPTER V, OF Doctrine. 


1. Those whom God, according to his pur- 
pose, calleth to the fellowship of his Son our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and regenerates by the 
holy Spirit, he indeed sets free from the do- 
minion and slavery of sin, but not entirely 
in this Hfe from the flesh and the body of 

2. Hence daily sins of infirmity arise, and 
blemishes {nsevi) cleave to the best works 
even of the saints; which furnish to them 
continual cause {materiam) of humbling 
themselves before God, of fleeing to Christ 

* They who constitute the true church ; •' such a mark 
of them is tlie faith, by which Christ, or their only Saviour, 
being apprehended, they flee from sin and follow after 
righteousness ; at the same time, they love the true God and 
their neighbours, neither turning aside to the light hand 
nor to tlie left: they crucify the flesh with its affections; 
but by no means this indeed, as if there were not in them, 
any longer infirmity: but that they fight against it through 
the whole time of their life, by the energy (virtutem) of 
the Holy Spirit; and in the mean time they flee to the 
blood, tiie death, and the sufferings and obedience of our 
Lord Christ, as to their most safe protection." Belgic Con- 
fession, Art. xxix. Rom. vii. 21 — 25. viii. 1, 2. Gal. v. 
16, 17. 24, See Art. ix. Ch. Eng.— The Remonstrants or 
Arminians of those days held, it seems, the doctrine of sin- 
less perfection in this life more generally than Anti-Cal- 
vinists do at present. 



crucified, of mortifying the flesh more and' 
more by the spirit of prayers, and the holy 
exercises of piety, and of panting after the 
goal of perfection {ad perfectionis metam 
suspirandi) until the time when, delivered 
from this body of death, they shall reign 
with the Lamb of God in the heavens.* 

3. Because of these remains of indweUing 
sin, and moreover also, the temptations of 
the world and of Satan, the converted could 
not continue (perstare) in this grace, if they 
were left to their own strength. But God is 
faithful, who confirms them in the grace 
once mercifully conferred on them, and pow- 
erfully preserves them in the same even un- 
to the end.t 

4. But though that power of God, con- 
firming the truly faithful (vert Jideles) in 
grace, and preserving them, is greater than 
what can be overcome by the flesh; yet the 
converted are not always so influenced and 
moved by God, that they cannot depart, in 
certain particular actions, from the leading 

* " Not that they should slumber, trusting in this re- 
mission, but that the feeling of tiiis corruption may excite 
in the faitliful more frequent groans ; and that they may 
wish more ardently to be freed from this body of death. 
Rom. vii. 18. 24." Belgic Confession, Art. xv. 

t Prov. xxviii. 26. Jer. xvii. 9, Luke xxii. 31, 32 
1 Pet. 1.5. 


of grace, and be seduced by the desires {co7i- 
cupiscentiis) of the flesh, and obey them. 
Wherefore, they must continually watch and 
pray, lest they should be led into tempta- 
tions. Which when they do not, they may 
be not only violently carried away by the 
flesh, and the world, and Satan, unto griev- 
ous and atrocious sins ; but they are some- 
times even thus violently carried away, by 
the righteous permission of God; which the 
mournful falls of David and Peter, and of 
other saints recorded in Scripture, demon- 

5. But by such enormous sins they ex- 
ceedingly offend God; they incur the guilt of 
death, they grieve the Holy Spirit, they in- 
terrupt the exercise of faith, they most griev- 
ously wound conscience, and they some- 
times lose, for a lime, the perception of 
grace; until by serious repentance, returning 
into the way, the paternal countenance of 
God again shines upon them. (Ps, li. 11, 12). 

6. For God, who is rich in mercy, from 
his immutable purpose of election, does not 
wholly take away his Holy Spirit from his 
own, even in lamentable falls; nor does he 

« Ps. cxix. 116, 117. Matt. xxvi.40, 41. 69—75. 1 Pel. 
V. 8. Jude20, 21. 24. 


SO permit them to glide down, {prolabi,) 
that they should fall from the grace of adop- 
tion and the state of justification, or commit 
the sin unto death, or against the Holy- 
Spirit; that, being deserted by him, they 
should cast themselves headlong into eternal 

7. In the first place, he preserves in them, 
in these falls, that immortal seed, by which 
they are regenerated, {or begotten again, 
regeniti,) lest it should perish, or be shaken 
out, 1 Pet. i. 23. 1 John iii. 9. Then, by 
his own word and Spirit, he assuredly and 
efficaciously renews them to repentance; 
that from the soul they may mourn accord- 
ing to God, for the sins committed; may seek 
remission in the blood of the Mediator by 
faith, with a contrite heart, and obtain it; 
that they may feel the favour of God again 
reconciled; may adore his mercies by faith; 
and finally work out their salvation more 
earnestly with fear and trembling.! 

8. So that, not by their own merits or 

* Luke xxii. 32. John iv. 14. 1 John v. 16—18. 

+ Can any thing be guarded in a more wise, holy, and 
scriptural manner, than this statement of the means, by 
which God preserves and restores liis offending children ? 
Ps. Ixxxix. 30—34. Jer. xxxii. 40. 1 Cor. xi. 32. Matt, 
xxvi. 75. John xxi. 17. 1 Pet. iv. 7. v. 8. 



Strength, but by the gratuitous mercy of God 
they obtain it, that they neither totally fall 
from faith and grace, nor finally continue in 
their falls and perish. Which as to them- 
selves {quoad ipsos) not only might easily 
be done, but would without doubt be done; 
yet, in respect of God, it cannot at all be 
done, (or take place, fieri,) as, neither can 
his counsel be changed, his promise fall, their 
vocation according to his purpose be recalled, 
the merit, intercession, and guardianship of 
Christ be rendered void, nor the sealing of 
the Holy Spirit become vain, or be blotted 

9. Of this guarding of the elect to salva- 
tion, and the perseverance in the faith of the 
truly faithful, {vere fidelium,) the faithful 
themselves may become certain, (assured) 
and are, according to the measure of their 
faith; by which they certainly believe them- 
selves to be, and that they shall perpetually 
remain, true and living members of the 
church, have remission of sins, and eternal 

* John X. 27—30. xiii. 36. xiv. 19. xvii. 24, Rom. v. 
9, 10. viii. 16, 17. 28—39. 2 Tor. i. 2. Eph. i. 13, 14. 
V. 30. 

t May become certain, not, are all of them, or at all 
times, certain. Heb. vi. 10, 11. 2 Pet. i. 10, 11. 1 John 
V. 11—13. 19,20. 



10. And indeed, {ix\x\Y, proinde,) this cer- 
tainty is "not from any peculiar revelation, 
made beyond, or without, the word of God; 
but from the belief of the promises, which 
God hath most copiously revealed in his own 
word, for our comfort ; by the testimony " of 
the Holy Spirit witnessing with our spirit, 
that we are the sons and heirs of God." 
(Rom. viii. 16.) Finally, from the earnest 
(or serious, serio) and holy desire {or pur- 
suit, studio) of a good conscience and good 
works.* And of this substantial consolation 
of the victory to be obtained, and the infal- 
lible earnest of eternal glory, if the Elect of 
God could be deprived "in this world, they 
would of all men be the most miserable." 

11. In the mean while, the Scripture tes- 
tifies, that the faithful in this life, are as- 
saulted {conflict ari) with various doubtings 
of the flesh, and, being placed in heavy temp- 
tations, do not always feel this full assurance 
of faith and certainty of perseverance. But 
God, "the Father of all consolation," does 

* Surely this has the stamp of holiness deeply impressed 
upon it ! It is evangelical truth, in that part of it, which 
is most vehemently accused as tending to laxity of prac- 
tice, and most frequently misstated by tlie injudicious, and 
perverted by entliusiasts and hypocrites, set forth in its 
genuine and inseparable connection with good works. 
1 Cor. XV. 58. 



not suffer them to be tempted above "their 
strength, but with the temptation makes 
some way of escape" {praestat evasionem, 
rioirjosi sxSaaiv.) And, by the Holy Spirit, 
he excites again in the same persons the cer- 
tainty of perseverance. 

12, But so far is this certainty of perseve- 
rance from rendering the truly faithful proud 
and carnally secure, that, on the contrary, it 
is the true root of humihty, of filial reveren- 
tial fear, of true piety, of patience in every 
conflict, of ardent prayers, of constancy in 
the cross, and in the confession of the truth, 
and of solid joy in God : and the considera- 
tion of this benefit is the spur {stimulus) to 
the serious and continual exercise of grati- 
tude and good works; as it appears by the 
testimonies of the Scriptures, and the exam- 
ples of the saints. 

13. Neither even in those, who are re-in- 
stated after a fall, dotli the renewed confi- 
dence of perseverance produce licentiousness, 
or neglect {incuriam) of piety, but much 
greater care of solicitously being guarded (or 
kept) in the ways of God, which are pre- 
pared, that by walking in them they may 
retain the certainty of their own perseve- 
rance : lest, on account of the abuse of his 



paternal benignity, the face of the merciful 
God, (the contemplation of which is to the 
pious sweeter than life, and the withdrawing 
of it more bitter than death,) should again 
be turned away from them, and so they 
should fall into heavier torments of the 
soul. (Ps. Ixxxv. 8.) 

14. -But, as it hath pleased God to begin 
this work in us by the preaching of the gos- 
pel; so, by the hearing, reading, meditation 
of the same, by exhortations, threatenings, 
promises, and moreover by the use of the 
sacraments, he preserves, continues, and per- 
fects it."^ 

15. This doctrine, concerning the perse- 
verance of the truly believing and saints, and 
of its certainty, which God hath abundantly 
revealed in his word, to the glory of his own 
name and to the comfort of pious souls, and 
hath impressed on the hearts of the faithful, 
the flesh indeed doth not receive, Satan 

* Is not this a full confutation of those who accuse 
such as hold this doctrine, with rendering all means of 
grace needless, and all exhortations nugatory ? The means 
to be used by the persons tlieniselves, and by others for 
them, in whatever form they are employed, constitute a 
part of that counsel and plan, by which God preserves his 
people, and causes them " to walk religiously in good 
works, and at Icngtji by his mercy tiiey attain to ever- 
lasting felicity." Art. xvii. Ch. Eng. Compare Acts xxvii. 
22—24. with 31. and Jude 20, 21, with 24. 



hates, the world derides, the inexperienced 
{imperiti) and hypocrites violently hurry 
away {rapiunt,) into abuse, and the spirits 
of error oppose. But the spouse of Christ 
hath always most tenderly loved it, as a 
treasure of inestimable value, and hath con- 
stantly defended it {propugnavit) which in- 
deed that she may do God will take care 
{procurabit,) against whom neither counsel 
can avail, nor any strength succeed. To 
whom, the only God, Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit, be honour and glory for ever and 
ever. Amen. 

These fifteen articles are abbreviated, as 
has been above stated, in the following arti- 

Art. V. Of the Certainty of Perseverance. 

" That such as have once received that 
grace by faith, can never fall from it, finally 
or totally, notwithstanding the most enor- 
mous sins they can commit. 

To which is added, " This is the shortest, 
and withal the most favourable summary, 
which I have hitherto met with of the con- 
clusions of this Synod : that which was drawn 
up by the Remonstrants in their antidotum, 



being much more large, and comprehending"*' 
many things by way of inference, which are 
not positively expressed in the words them- 

I am not able to annex the Antidolum of 
the Remonstrants: yet, I cannot but be dis- 
posed to think, that it does not contain a 
more unfavourable statement of the conclu- 
sions made by the Synod of Dort, than that 
abbreviated in these five articles, though 
doubtless, it is more prolix. But would not 
the very articles published by the Synod it- 
self, being produced or commented on, have 
been far more like Q.fair and equitable con- 
duct towards it, than any abbreviation or 
antidotum, drawn up by its avowed oppo- 
nents? I trust such would have been the 
conduct of most Calvinists, in recording the 
proceedings of an Anti-Calvinistic Synod: 
but, it seems, Calvinists are exceptions to all 
rules, and have no right to expect fair and 
equitable treatment from other men. 


The orthodox doctrine having been set 
forth, the Synod rejects the errors of those, 



1. Who teach that " The perseverance of 
the truly faithful is not the effect of election, 
or the gift of God obtained by the death of 
Christ, but a condition of the new covenant, 
to be performed by man, of free-will, antece- 
dent to his peremptory election and justifi- 
cation, as they themselves speak." For, the 
sacred Scripture testifies, that it follows elec- 
tion, and that it is given to the elect through 
the power of the death, resurrection, and in- 
tercession of Christ. Rom. xi. 7. " The elec- 
tion have obtained; the rest were hardened." 
[iriio^w^'riaa.v). Also, Rom. viii. 32. " He who 
spared not his own Son, but delivered him 
up for us all, how shall he not with him 
freely give us all things? Who shall lay any 
thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God 
that justifieth. Who is he that condenineth? 
It is Christ who died; yea, rather who is 
risen again, who also sitteih at the right hand 
of God, who likewise intercedeth for us: 
Who shall separate us from the love of 

2. Who teach that " God indeed provides 

* Luke xxii. 32. 1 Pet. i. 5. " Because the frailty of 
man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy 
help from all things hurtful." Col. xv. aller Trinity, Church 
of England. 



the believer with powers sufficient for perse- ' 
vering, and is ready to preserve them in him 
if he performs his duty: all things, however, 
being furnished which are necessary to per- 
severing in faith, and which God willeth to 
supply for the preservation of faith, it al- 
ways depends upon the freedom of the will 
whether he will persevere or not persevere:" 
For this opinion contains manifest Pelagian- 
ism; and, while it willeth to make menyree, 
makes them sacrilegious, contrary to the per- 
petual agreement of the evangelical doc- 
trine, which deprives men of all ground {ma- 
teriam) for glorying, and ascribes to divine 
grace alone the praise of this benefit ; and it 
is opposite to the apostle, who declares, that 
" It is God who will confirm us even to the 
end blameless, in the day of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." 1 Cor. i. 8.* 

3. Who teach that " True believers and re- 
generate persons may not only fall from jus- 
tifying faith, and in like manner from grace 
and salvation, totally and finally, but like- 

* " Being confident of this, that he wlio hath begun a 
good work in you, will perlbrm it until the day of Jesus 
Christ." Phil. i. G. If it depend absolutely on the freedom 
of man's will, whether he will persevere or not, his reli- 
ance must and ought to be placed on that, on which the 
whole eventdepends ; wad is not this to trust our own hearts? 



wise that in fact {re ipsa) they not seldom do 
fall from it, and perish eternally:" For this 
opinion renders vain the grace itself of justi- 
fication and regeneration, and the perpetual 
guardian care {custodiam) of Christ, contrary 
to the express words of the apostle Paul, 
Rom. V. 8, 9. " If Christ died for us while 
we were yet sinners, much more, therefore, 
being now justified through his blood, we 
shall be saved from wrath by him." And, 
contrary to the apostle John, 1 John iii. 9. 
" Every one that is born of God doth not 
commit sin, because his seed remainelh in 
him: neither can he sin, because he is born 
of God." Also, contrary to the words of 
Jesus Christ, John x. 28, 29, "I give eter- 
nal life to my sheep, and they shall never pe- 
rish, neither shall any one tear them violent- 
ly out of my hand: my Father who gave 
them me is greater than all, neither can any 
one tear them violently out of my Father's 

4. Who teach that "True believers and 
the regenerate may sin the sin unto death, 
or against the Holy Spirit." But the same 
apostle, John, chap. v. after, in the 16th and 
17th verses, he has mentioned those who sin 
unto death, and forbidden to pray for them, 


immediately, ver. 18, adds, '' We know, that 
whosoever is born of God, sinneth not," 
(namely, in that kind of sin) " but he that is 
born of God, keepeth himself, and that wick- 
ed one toucheth him not." 

5. Who teach that " No certainty of future 
perseverence can be had in this life, without 
special revelation." For by this doctrine, 
solid consolation is taken away from true 
believers in this life, and the doubling of the 
papists {pojitificorum) brought back into 
the church. But the holy Scripture every 
where requires this certainty, not from spe- 
cial and extraordinary revelation, but from 
the peculiar marks of the children of God, 
and the most constant promises of God. In 
the first place, the apostle Paul, Rom. viii. 
39. "No created thing can separate us 
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus 
our Lord:" and 1 John iii. 24. "Whoso 
keepeth his commandment remaineth in him, 
and he in him; and hereby we know that 
we remain in him by the Spirit which he 
hath given us."* 

» 1 John ii. 3, 4. iii. 14 18, 19. Not a single instance 
can be adduced from the Scripture, in which any prophet 
or apostle ascribes his own assurance of salvation to spe- 
cial revelation, or to any thing different from wliat he 



6. Who teach that "The doctrine of per- 
severance and the assurance of salvation, 
from its nature and tendency, {indole) is a 
pillow for the flesh, and injurious to piety, 
good conduct, prayers, and other holy exer- 
cises; but that on the contrary to doubt con- 
cerning it is laudable:" For these persons 
show themselves to be ignorant ofthe effi- 
cacy of divine grace, and ofthe operation of 
the indwelling Holy Spirit: and they con- 
tradict the apostle John affirming in express 
words, 1 John iii. 2, 3: "Beloved, now are 
we the sons of God; but it doth not yet ap- 
pear what we shall be: we know, however, 
that when he shall be revealed, we shall be 
like him, because we shall see him as he is. 
And whoso hath this hope in him, purifieth 
himself, even as he is pure." They are more- 
over, confuted by the examples of the saints 
in the Old as well as in the New Testament, 
who, though they were certain of their own 
perseverance and salvation, were neverthe- 
less assiduous in prayers, and other pious 

exhorts others to, in order to obtain and retain the same 
assurance. Tliis concludes at least as strong! >• against 
those, who ground their assurance on dreams, visions, 
and impressions, of whatever kind; as those who say, it 
can only be enjoyed by immediate revelation. 


7. Who teach that " The faith of temporary 
believers doth not differ from justifying and 
saving faith, except in duration alone:" For 
Christ himself, Matt. xiii. 20, and Luke viii. 
13, &c., besides this, manifestly constituted a 
threefold distinction between temporary, and 
true beUevers, as he says, those received the 
seed in stony ground, these in good ground, 
or "an honest heart:" those are without 
root; these have a firm root: those are desti- 
tute of fruit; these bring forth their fruit in 
divers measure, constantly or perseveringly.* 

8. Who teach that " it is not absurd, that 
the first regeneration being extinct, man 
should be again, yea, more often regene- 
rated:"! For by this doctrine they deny the 
incorruptibility of the seed of God, by which 
we are born again; contrary to the testimony 
of the apostle, 1 Pet. i. 23: "Being born 
again, not of corruptible seed, but of incor- 

8. Who teach that " Christ doth in no 
wise pray for the infallible perseverance in 
faith of behevers:" For they contradict 

* " The foolish virgins took their lamps but no oil with 
them. The wise, took nil iti their vessels, with their 
lamps." Malt. xxv. 4, 5. 1 John ii. 19i 

t Tins is a ground that modern opposers of th6 doc- 
trine not only disclaim, but ehar^e it erroneously as an 
error which the Calvinists maintain. 



Christ himself, who says, Luke xxii. 32: "I 
have prayed for thee, (Peter,) that thy faith 
fail not," and John the evangelist, testifying, 
John xvii. 20, that Christ prayed, not only 
for the apostles, but likewise for all who shall 
believe through their words: ver. 11. "Holy 
Father, keep them through thy name:" and 
ver. 15. "I pray not that thou mayest take 
them out of the world, but that thou showld- 
est keep them from evil." 


And this is a perspicuous, simple, and in- 
genuous declaration of the orthodox doctrine 
concerning the five controverted articles in 
Belgium, and a rejection of the errors by 
which the Belgic churches have for some 
time been disturbed, which the Synod, hav- 
ing taken from the word of God, judges to 
be agreeable to the confessions of the reform- 
ed churches. Whence it clearly appears, 
that they, whom it by no means became, 
purposed to inculcate on the people, those 
(articles) which are contrary to all truth, 
equity, and charity. 

(Namely,) "That the doctrine of the re- 


formed churches, concerning predestination, 
and the heads connected with it, {annexis 
ei,) by its own proper nature, (genio,) and 
impulse, draws away the minds of men from 
all piety and religion;* that it is the pillow of 
the flesh and of the devil, the citadel of Sa- 
tan, from which he lies in ambush, (insidie- 
ticr,) for all, wounds very many, and fatally 
pierces through many, as well with javelins 
of desperation as of security: That the same 
doctrine makes God the author of sin, un- 
just, a tyrant, a hypocrite; nor is it any oth- 
er than interpolated Stoicism, Manicheism, 
Libertinism, and Turcism, {Turcismiim:)\ 

* Two things clearly appear from this passage, 1. The 
Remonstrants assumed it as undoubted, tliat the predesti- 
nation wliich they opposed with its connected heads of 
doctrine, was generally held by the refohned churches, 
including the Church of England. And, 2. They injuri- 
ously charged it with involving those very consequences, 
which they who contend that the Church of England is 
not Calvinistic, charge on the doctrine of those whom they 
call Calvinists. 

t The chapter in the " Refutation of Calvinism," show- 
ing "thai the earliest heretics maintained o[)inions great- 
ly resembling the peculiar tenets ot'Calvinism ;" comes far 
short it seems of the charges brought by the Remonstrants 
against the doctrine of predestination, as held by the re- 
formed churches, including that of England among the 
rest. That doctrine, as held in these cimrciies, was not 
only Manicheism, but heathen Stoicism, infidel Libertin- 
ism, and Moiiammedism. But it is far more easy to bring 
accusations again>t any tenet or body of men, than satis- 
factorily to prove tiiem. The Synod of Dort did not at 



That it renders men secure, as being per- 
suaded that it does not hinder the salvation 
of the elect, in what manner soever they 
live; and they can with safety perpetrate the 
most atrocious crimes: That it does not pro- 
fit the reprobate, as to salvation, if they 
should truly do all the works of the saints: 
That by the same (doctrine,) it is taught, 
that God by the bare and mere determina- 
tion, {nudo py.roque arbiiy^io,) of his will, 
without any respect, (views intuitu) of the 
sin of any man, predestinated and created 
the greatest part of the world to eternal 
damnation : That in the same manner as 
election is the fountain and cause of faith 
and good works, reprobation is the cause of 
infidelity and impiety: That many unoffend- 
ing {innoxise) infants of believers are vio- 
lently torn away from the breasts of their 
mothers, and tyrannically precipitated into 
hell; so that neither baptism, nor the prayers 
of the Church at their baptism, profit them."* 

all shrink from proclaiming that such charges had been 
brought; and they were satisfied, and on good ground, 
that tliey had fully demonstrated them to be unfounded. 

* The language of tlicse accusations is so horridly irre- 
vercnd, that it' it had not been actually used by tlie Re- 
monstrants, it could hardly have been thus brought for- 
ward; and nothing but to show tlie real spirit of these 


Also, those very many other things that 
are of the same kind, which the reformed 
churches not only do not acknowledge, but 
which they detest with their whole soul {pec- 
tore.) Wherefore, this Synod of Dordrecht, 
obtests by the name of the Lord, all as many 
as piously call on the name of our Saviour 
Jesus Christ, that they would judge concern- 
ing the faith of the reformed churches, not 
from the calumnies heaped together from this 
and the other quarter {hinc inde,) nor even 
from the private sayings of certain indivi- 
duals, as well ancient as modern doctors 
quoted often either unfaithfully, or wrested 
{detortis) into a foreign meaning; but from 
the public confessions of those churches and 
from this declaration of the orthodox doc- 
trine, confirmed by the unanimous consent 
of all, and every one of, the members of this 
whole Synod. It then {deinde) seriously ad- 
monishes the calumniators themselves, to 
consider how heavy a judgment of God, they 
may be about to suffer, who, against so many 
churches, against so many confessions of 
churches, bear false witness, disturb the con- 
sciences of the weak, and diligently employ 

controversialists, could excuse the repeating of it, either 
by the Sjnod, or in this publication. 



themselves [satagunt) to render the society 
of true believers suspected.* 

Lastly, this Synod exhorts all their fellow 
ministers in the gospel of Christ, that in the 
treating {pertractatione) ofthis doctrine, they 
would walk piously and religiously in the 
schools and in the churches: and apply it, 
whether by tongue or pen, to the glory of the 
divine name, to holiness of life, and to the 
consolation of alarmed souls, that they may 
not only think, but speak, with the Scripture, 
according to the analogy of faith : finally, that 
they would abstain from all those phrases 
which exceed the prescribed limits of the 
genuine sense of the Holy Scriptures, and 
that might afford a just handle to perverse 
sophistsof reviling, or even calumniating the 
reformed churches. May Jesus Christ, the 
Son of God, who, sitting at the right hand of 
the Father, bestows gifts on men, sanctify us 
in truth; lead those to the truth who err; shut 
the mouths of those who calumniate the holy 
doctrine J and endow the faithful ministers 
of his word, with a spirit of wisdom and dis- 
cretion, that all their eloquence may tend to 

* This solemn warning is quite as seasonable in Bri- 
tain at present, as it was in Belgium in the seventeenth 



the glory of God and the edification of the"^ 
hearers. Amen.* 


The truth having been, by the grace of 
God, thus far explained and asserted, errors 
rejected and condemned, and iniquitous ca- 
lumnies refuted: this Synod of Dort, (accord- 
ing to the duty which is further incumbent 
upon it) seriously, earnestly, and by the au- 
thority, which, according to the word of God, 
it possesses over all the members of its 
churches, in the name of Christ, beseeches, 
exhorts, admonishes, and enjoins all and 
every one of the pastors of the churches in 
confederated Belgium; the doctors and rec- 
tors of the academies and schools; and the 
magistrates, and indeed all universally, to 
whom either the care of souls, or the discip- 
line of youth is committed, that, casting away 

*Can any thing be more wise, pious, and scriptural, 
than this concluding counsel and prayer? Who can deny, 
that many called Calvinists, by neglecting the counsel here 
exhibited, have given much occasion of misapprehension, 
prejudice, and slander to opposcrs, which might have been 
avoided? Who can object to this counsel? What pious 
mind will refuse to add his hearty Amen, to the closing 
prayer ? 


the five known articles of the Remonstrants 
which are erroneous, and mere hiding places 
of errors, they will preserve this wholesome 
doctrine of saving truth, drawn from the 
most pure fountain of the divine word, sin- 
cere and inviolate; according to their ability 
and office, propound and explain it faithfully 
to the people and youth; and diligently de- 
clare its most sweet and beneficial use in life, 
as well as in death: that they instruct those 
of different sentiments, those who wander 
from the flock, and are led away by the no- 
velty of opinions, meekly by the evidence of 
the truth, "if peradventure, God will give 
them repentance to the acknowledgment of 
the truth:" that, restored to a sound mind, 
they may with one spirit, one mouth, one 
faith and charity, return to the church of 
God and the communion of the saints: and 
that at length the wound of the church may 
be closed, and all her members be of one 
heart and mind in the Lord. 

But moreover, because some persons hav- 
ing gone out from among us, under the title 
of Remonstrants, (which name of Remon- 
strants, as also of Contra-Remonstrants, the 
Synod thinks should be blotted out by a 
perpetual oblivion;) and the discipline and 



order of the church having been violated, by 
their endeavours and private counsels in un- 
lawful ways; and the admonitions and judg- 
ments of their brethren having been despised ; 
they have grievously, and altogether danger- 
ously disturbed the Belgic churches, before 
most flourishing, and most united in faith 
and love, and in these heads of doctrine: 
have recalled ancient and pernicious errors, 
and framed new ones: and publicly and 
privately, both by word and by writings, 
liave scattered them among the common peo- 
ple, and have most vehemently contended 
for them; have made neither measure nor 
end, of inveighing against the doctrine hith- 
erto received in the churches, by enormous 
calumnies and reproaches: have filled all 
things every where, with scandals, dissen- 
sions, scruplesof consciences, and inventions 
[excogitationibus ;) which great crimes cer- 
tainly against faith, against love, and good 
morals, and the unity and peace of the 
churches, as they could not justly be endured 
ill any man, ought necessarily to be animad- 
verted on in pastors, with that most severe 
censure, which hath in every age {ab omni 
scvo) been adopted by the church: the Synod 
having invoked the holy name of God, and 



honestly conscious of its authority from the 
word of God; treading in the footsteps as 
well of ancient as of recent Synods, and for- 
tified by the authority of the most Illustrious 
the States General, declares and judges, that 
those pastors, who have yielded themselves 
leaders of parties in the church, and teachers 
of errors, and of a corrupt religion, and of 
the rended unity of the church, and of most 
grievous scandals, and moreover, having 
been summoned before this Synod, of intol- 
erable obstinacy against the decrees of the 
supreme authority made known by this Sy- 
nod, and also against the venerable Synod 
itself, be accounted convicted and guilty per- 

For which causes, in the first place, the 
Synod interdicts the before cited persons 
from every ecclesiastical service, and deposes 
them from their offices, and judges them 
even to be unworthy of academical func- 
tions, until by earnest repentance, abundant- 
ly proved by words and deeds, and contrary 
exertions, they satisfy the church, and be 
truly and fully reconciled with the same, and 
received to her communion; which for their 
own good, and for the joy of the whole 
church, we peculiarly {unice) desire in Christ 



our Lord. But the rest, of whom the know-" 
ledge hath not come to this national Synod, 
the Synod commits to the Provincials, the 
Classes, and the Consistories, after the re- 
ceived order; that they may take care that 
the church at present receive no detriment, 
nor fear it hereafter. Let them discriminate 
with the spirit of prudence the followers of 
these errors: Let them depose the refractory, 
the clamorous, the factious, the disturbers, 
as soon as possible, from ecclesiastical offices, 
and those of the schools which belong to 
their knowledge and care; and let them be 
admonished that, without any interposed 
delay, after the reception of the decision of 
this national Synod, having obtained the 
authority of the magistrate, in order to it, 
they assemble (for this purpose) lest the evil 
should increase and be strengthened by de- 
lay. Let them, with all lenity, by the duties 
of love, by patience, excite those who have 
fallen or been carried away by infirmity and 
the fault of the times, and perhaps hesitate 
in lighter matters, or are even dissentient, 
but quiet, of blameless life, tractable, to true 
and perfect concord with the church : yet so, 
that they may diligently take care that they 
do not admit any to the sacred ministry, who 


refuse to subscribe these synodical constitu- 
tions of the declared doctrine, and to teach 
it: that they even retain no one, by whose 
manifest dissension the doctrine approved 
with such agreement in this Synod may be 
violated, and the tranquillity of the churches 
again disturbed. 

Moreover, this venerable Synod seriously 
admonishes all ecclesiastical assemblies, most 
diligently to watch over the flocks commit- 
ted to them, and maturely to go and meet 
all innovations privily springing up in the 
church, and pull them up, as it were tares, 
out of the field of the Lord : that they attend 
to the schools, and the conductors [modera- 
toribus) of schools, lest any things, from pri- 
vate sentiments and depraved opinions, hav- 
ing been instilled into the youth, destruction 
should afterwards be produced to the church 
and the republic. 

Finally, thanks having been reverently 
given to the most Illustrious and very power- 
ful the States General of Belgium, because 
they in so necessary and seasonable a time, 
clemently gave succour to the afflicted and 
declining interests of the church, by the 
remedy of the Synod; that they received the 
upright and faithful servants of God under 



their protection, and willed that the pledge 
of every blessing and the divine presence, 
the truth of his word, should be, in a holy 
and religious manner, preserved in their do- 
minions; that they spared no labour or ex- 
pense, to promote and complete such a work; 
for which extraordinary benefits, the Synod, 
with its whole heart, prays for the most 
abundant recompense on them from the 
Lord, both publicly and privately, both spi- 
ritual and temporal. And the Synod indeed 
most strenuously and humbly asketh the 
same most clement lords, to will and com- 
mand that this salutary doctrine, most faith- 
fully expressed according to the word of 
God, and the consent of the reformed church- 
es, be alone, and publicly lieard in these re- 
gions; to drive away all heresies and errors 
privily springing up, and repress unquiet and 
turbulent spirits, that they would go to ap- 
prove themselves the true and benign nurs- 
ing fathers and tutors of the church; that 
they would determine that the sentence, ac- 
cording to the ecclesiastical authority con- 
firmed by the laws of the country, be valid 
against the persons before spoken of; and 
that they would render the Synodical con- 


stitutions immovable and perpetual, by the 
addition of their own decision {calculo.) 

On this conclusion a few remarks may be 

Conceding, that there were things unjusti- 
fiable in the decisions made, and the mea- 
sures adopted by the Synod, I would inquire, 
whether all the blame in the whole of that 
lamentable contest, was on one side? Whe- 
ther the conduct of the Remonstrants was 
not as remote at least from a conciliatory 
spirit, as the members of the Synod? And 
whether, in case the Remonstrants had been 
victorious, they would have made a more 
Christian use of their victory and authority 
than the Synod did? I never yet knew or 
read of an eager and pertinacious contest, in 
which both parties were not greatly culpa- 
ble; and in many instances, it is not easy for 
an impartial observer to determine on which 
side the greatest degree of criminality rests: 
only where other motives or prejudices do 
not counteract, the suffering party is gene- 
rally favoured and excused; and still more, 
when the motives, sentiments, or prejudices 
of the persons concerned are on his side. 
The Remonstrants, and all who ever since 


have favoured them, throw the whole blame 
of the contest, both of the management, re- 
sult, and consequences of it, on the Synod; 
and as the Remonstrants were, in the first 
instance at least, the chief sufferers, and as 
their tenets are generally more favoured than 
those of the Synod, the public mind has 
greatly favoured the cause of the suffering 
party. Yet the Synod and its supporters 
seem very confident, that the Remonstrants 
exclusively were in fault, and consider their 
conduct as intolerably haughty and pertina- 
cious. But will not an impartial judge, 
would not one, who had no sympathy with 
either party, no partiality or prejudice, as to 
the five points of doctrine, on either side, (if 
such a man can be found on earth,) would 
he not fairly divide the criminality? At least 
would he not allot nearly one half of it to 
the one, and one half to the other? Nay, 
might he not allot the greater part to the 
Remonstrants? Thus, in all other contests, 
which have terminated in incurable separa- 
tions, the charge of schism has been brought 
with the utmost confidence (if not bitterness) 
by each party against its opponent; and, 
except in one solitary instance, nearly with 
equal justice. I say, one instance excepted; 


for beyond all doubt, on the broad ground of 
Scripture, in the separation of Protestants 
from the Roman church, all the guilt of 
schism rested with that corrupt body, which 
excluded from its communion all those, who 
would not worship creatures, or conform 
to anti-christian observances; and, in many 
ways, made it the duty, the absolute duty, of 
all the true worshippers of God through 
Christ Jesus, to come forth and be separate. 
But perhaps this is the only exception. 

I would by no means exclude schism from 
the vocabulary of sins, of great and grievous 
sins, as many seem disposed to do. Pride, 
ambition, obstinacy, and self-will, and "mother 
very corrupt passions, powerfully influence 
both those, who by spiritual tyranny, would 
lord it over other men's consciences, and im- 
pose things not scriptural, if rtot directly 
anti-scriptural, as terms of communion, or 
even of exemption from pains and penalties; 
and also on those, who on slight grounds re- 
fuse compliance, where the requirement is 
not evidently wrong; and then magnify by 
a perverse ingenuity, into a most grievous 
evil, some harmless posture, or garb, or cere- 
mony. If the one party would, humbly and 
meekly without desiring to arrogate a power 



not belonging to man, desist fronn perempto- 
rily requiring such things as are doubtful, 
and liable to be misunderstood, and so scru- 
pled by upright, peaceable, and conscientious 
persons: and if the other party would deter- 
mine to comply, as far as on much previous 
examination of the Scripture, with prayer, 
and teachableness, they conscientiously could 
do it; the schism might be prevented, and 
all the very bad effects of the church of 
Christ being thus rent and split into parties, 
prevented. For these several parties are 
generally more eager in disputing with each 
other, than "contending for the faith once 
delivered to the saints;" in making prose- 
lytes, than in seeking the conversion of sin- 
ners; and in rendering their opponents odi- 
ous and ridiculous, than in exhibiting our 
holy religion as lovely and attractive to all 
around them. In these things, their zeal 
spends itself to no good purpose. 

As to the existing divisions, it appears to 
me, on long and patient investigation, that 
they originated from very great criminality 
on both sides; nor am I prepared to say, on 
which side it was the greater; and that there 
is criminality on both sides, in the continu- 
ance of them, and still more in the increase 



of them; in which the heaviest lies, on those 
who hastily, and on very doubtful or inade- 
quate grounds, make new separations. Yet 
as to the general division of the Christians 
in England, into churchmen and dissenters, 
it appears to me, that in present circum- 
stances, neither individuals, nor public bo- 
dies, can do any thing to terminate it ; nor 
till some unforeseen event make way for a 
termination, by means, and in a manner, of 
which little conception can previously be 
formed. In the mean while, it seems very 
desirable to abate acrimony and severity, 
and to differ, where we must differ, in a lov- 
ing spirit; and to unite with each other in 
every good work, as far as we can con- 
scientiously. It is in my view in this case, 
precisely the same, as it was with the Synod 
of Dort and the Remonstrants; each party 
throws the whole blame on the other; but 
impartiality would, I think, nearly allot half 
to the one and half to the other. True 
Christians of every description, live, sur- 
rounded with ungodly men, nay, such as 
are profane, and immoral, and contentious, 
yet they generally are enabled to live peace- 
ably with them all. How is it then, that 
they cannot, on the same principles, bear 



with each other, when differences in merely 
the circumstances of religion are the only 
ground of disputations, bickerings, and con- 
tests? "Whence come fightings among 

2. A large proportion of that, which at 
present would be disapproved, if not repro- 
bated, in the concluding decision of the Sy- 
nod of Dort, and in its effects, must be con- 
sidered, by every impartial and well inform- 
ed person, as pertaining to that age, and 
those which had preceded it. The authority 
of such conventions to determine points of 
theology, to enforce their decisions by eccle- 
siastical censures, interdicts, and mandates, 
such as this conclusion contains, had not 
been called in question, at least in any great 
degree, by any of the reformers or reformed 
churches. It was the general opinion, that 
princes and states ought to convene councils 
or assemblies, when needed; and, as far as 
hope was given of such councils being con- 
vened, they generally acted on this princi- 
ple. They considered the ruling powers as 
invested with the right of authorizing these 
conventions, to cite before them the persons, 
whose tenets and conduct gave occasion of 
convening them; and of animadverting on 



them as contumacious, if they refused to ap- 
pear, or to submit to the decisions of the ma- 
jority. And they regarded it as a great ad- 
vantage, when the secular power would con- 
cur in carrying into effect, their censures, ex- 
clusions, or requirements. These points had 
been almost unanimously assumed as indis- 
putable, from the dawn of the reformation, 
to the time of this Synod, both on the conti- 
nent, and in Britain; and little had been ad- 
vanced, in direct opposition to the justice of 
proceeding still further to punish the refrac- 
tory with pains and penalties. The van- 
quished party indeed generally complained, 
and remonstrated with sufficient acrimony, 
yet when the tables were turned, and they 
acquired a victory, they used their superior- 
ity in the same manner, and sometimes even 
with still greater severity. How far all this 
was criminal, unscriptural, unreasonable, or 
not, is by no means the present question; but 
how far the Synod of Dort went beyond the 
precedents of former times, and of other 

3. Thus far, as it seems to me at least, the 
case is clear, and to an impartial mind not 
difficult: but how far the whole of this pro- 
cedure, either in this Synod, or in other simi- 


lar cases, on the continent and in our land, 
was wrong, in toto or in parte: whether the 
whole must be reprobated together, or only 
some part of it; or where the line should be 
drawn, are questions of greater difficulty, on 
which men in general will decide, according 
to the prevailing sentiments of the day, and 
those of that part of the visible church to 
which they belong. Yet, I would venture 
with a kind of trepidation, and with much 
diffidence, to drop a few hints on the subject: 
the result of very much reflection, during a 
long course of years, with what other aid I 
could procure, in addition to the grand stand- 
ard of truth and duty, of principle and prac- 
tice, to men of all ranks, individually, or in 
corporate bodies, the "Oracles of God." 

It must, as it appears to me, be incontro- 
vertible, that penal means, of whatever kind, 
are wholly inadmissible in matters purely re- 
ligious; and in which the persons concerned 
would act peaceably, if not irritated by op- 
position and persecution; for "oppression in 
this case often maketh a wise man mad;" 
and his mad conduct is ascribed to his reli- 
gious peculiarities, when it originates from 
other causes, and is excited by oppression. 
Punishments can have no tendency to en- 



lighten the understanding, inform the mind, 
or regulate the judgment; and they infallibly 
increase prejudice, and tempt to resentment. 
They may indeed make hypocrites, but not 
believers; formalists, but not spiritual wor- 
shippers; and, in a word, they are no " means 
of grace" of God's appointmentt, and on 
which his blessing may be expected and sup- 
plicated. " The weapons of this warfare are 
carnal, not mighty through God." The ju- 
dicial law of Moses, as a part of the the- 
ocracy, punished with death nothing but 
idolatry and blasphemy, and this to prevent 
the contagion, "that men might hear, and 
fear, and do no more such wickedness;" not 
to produce conviction or conformity: and no 
penalty in other things was appointed, where 
the public peace was not interrupted, and 
God's appointed rulers opposed. In the New 
Testament not a word occurs on the subject; 
except as our Lord blamed the apostles when 
they forbad one to cast out devils because he 
followed not with them. 

Whatever company, in any nation, can 
give proper security that they will act as 
peaceful citizens and good subjects, has, I 
apprehend, a right to the protection of the 
state, whatever its religious opinions or ob- 


servances may be; provided nothing grossly 
immoral, and contrary to the general laws of 
the country, be practised under the pretence 
of religion. Yet the murders, human sa- 
crifices, and other abominations in the East 
Indies, and in many other places, can have 
no right to toleration, nor can the toleration 
be by any means excused. Again, what- 
ever maybe urged in favour of allowing Pa- 
pists full liberty, as to their superstitious and 
idolatrous worship, (for so it doubtless is,) 
this should be done in their case with pecu- 
liar circumspection. But to grant them what 
they claim, and many claim for them, as 
emancipation^ and which means nothing 
else, than admission to power and authori- 
ty; seems irreconcilable to wisdom either 
human or divine. It is an essential princi- 
ple of popery, however disguised by some, 
and lost sight of by others, to tolerate none 
ivho are not of that church: and the grant of 
power to them, till this principle be disavow- 
ed by bishops, vicars-general, legates, cardi- 
nals, and popes, as well as others, in the most 
full and unequivocal language, is to liberate 
lions, because they have been harmless when 
not at liberty; and the event, should this 
emancipation be fully conceded, will be that 


the power thus obtained will be used in per- 
secution of those who gave it, as soon as it 
has acquired a proper measure of consolida- 
tion. If the advocates for this measure in 
our land, should they prove successful, do not 
themselves live to feel this, their posterity, I 
can have no doubt, will know it by deplora- 
ble experience. Avowed atheists seem also 
inadmissible to full toleration: as incapable 
of being bound by any obligation of an oath, 
or of an affirmation, as in the sight of God, 
which is equivalent to an oath. How far 
some kinds of blasphemers should be also ex- 
empted, may be a question; but every spe- 
cies of profaneness, or impiety, is not direct 
blasphemy. Yet if men outrage, or expose 
to ridicule or odium, the most sacred services 
of the religion of the country, or if public in- 
structors inculcate immoral principles ; they 
may, as far as I can see, be restrained, so 
that the mischief may be prevented; though 
perhaps without further punishment, except 
for actual violation of the peace. Every col- 
lective body, however, has an indisputable 
right to prescribe the terms, on which men 
shall be admitted into it, either as members 
of the company, or in an official caj)acity; and 
if it have funds at its disposal, the terms on 


which men shall be allowed to receive b.* 
share of them: provided that they who join 
them, do it voluntarily , and that others may, 
without molestation, be permitted to decline 
these terms, or to withdraw, if they, after 
having joined them, can no longer conscien- 
tiously comply. I say, a right indisputable 
by man, yet a right, for the use of which 
they are responsible to God; and the abuse of 
which has been and is the source of most de- 
plorable consequences. 

If, however, the Synod of Dort had only 
proceeded to exclude from ojfice, public 
teachers, whether of congregations or schools, 
belonging to the church or churches estab- 
lished in Belgium, who would not comply 
with the terms agreed on in the Synod ; the 
terms alone would have been the proper 
subject of our judgment, and not this exclu- 
sion, provided no further punishment had 
been inflicted. But this exclusion {ex officio) 
would of course be also {ex heneficio) or 
from the emolument of the office. And how 
far this would have been justifiable, I am 
not prepared to say: and, indeed, much de- 
pended on the nature of their funds, and the 
tenure on which they were obtained or held. 



But one thing is clear, that if some reason- 
able proportion of the emolument had been 
reserved to those who were excluded from 
office, so long as they conducted themselves 
peaceably, it would have been a very con- 
ciliatory measure, and suited to give a con- 
vincing testimony, that the glory of God, the 
peace of the church, the cause of truth, and 
the salvation of souls had been their motives 
and object; and not secular and party in- 

In respect of those revenues which, hav- 
ing been appropriated to religious purposes 
in former ages, fell into the hands of those 
who conducted the reformation and formed 
establishments, it cannot reasonably be ex- 
pected, that the bodies thus in possession, 
should voluntarily agree to share them with 
dissentients: but in revenues raised by taxes, 
on the present generation, for the purposes 
of supporting religion, and other things con- 
nected with it, equity seems to require that a 
proportion should be awarded to peaceful 
dissentients, of whatever description, accord- 
ing to the sum which that whole body may 
be requiredto pay towards such a tax: for 
they who contribute, and are good subjects. 



and can give a pledge to the government of 
good behaviour, ought, in all reason, to 
share the benefit in proportion.* 

When the teachers of congregations and 
of schools, supported by the revenues of the 
churches in Belgium, had been excluded or 
suspended from their office, and its emolu- 
ment, all that was done in accession, seems 
to have been unjustifiable. The excluded 
party, in reason, and according to the Scrip- 
ture, (though not according to the general 
sentiments of that age,) were entitled to full 
toleration, to worship God, and instruct 
others either as preachers or teachers of 
schools, not supported by the establishment, 
provided they did this peaceably. At most, 
only very general restrictions should have 
been required. But such teachers of sepa- 
rate congregations, and of schools, were not 
then known, or at least not recognised: 
nearly all places of worship and schools, 

* It may be worthy of consideration, how far a grant 
from parliament, for biiiliiinir cluirclies or chapels exclu- 
sively for the cstablislimerit, while the public at large must 
advance the nione)' from the general tax, or taxes, is thus 
consistent with strict equity. 'I'he design is excellent and 
most desirable; but wlicther it would not be more unex- 
ceptionable, if a proportiojKible sum were granted to peace- 
able dissenters, for the building or repairing their places 
of worship, may be matter ot inquiry to impartial legis- 


were in the hands of the established authori- 
ties, and every thing attempted must be done 
secretly, and then, on that very ground, con- 
demned as a conventicle or seditious meeting. 
Excommunication, according to Scripture, 
is nothing more than simple exclusion from 
the communion of the church, " Let him be 
as an heathen man, and a publican:" except 
when God miraculously by his apostles, 
who could, in that respect "do nothing 
against the truth, but for the truth," inflicted 
salutary chastisements, " for the destruction 
of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in 
the day of the Lord Jesus;" or that "others 
might learn not to blaspheme." But when, 
in addition to such an exclusion, many heavy 
consequences followed, even to fines, banish- 
ment, imprisonment, exclusion from the com- 
mon benefits of society, and even death, the 
very word excommunication became dread- 
ful and hateful; and the relaxation of aU 
discipline, nay, almost its annihilation, has 
been the consequence. Restore the matter 
to its original use; let the communicants be- 
come such of their own voluntary choice, 
admitted on a simple and credible profession 
of those things in which Christianity consists; 
and let them, if they act inconsistently, be 


excluded from communion, and left, in their 
former state, till they give proof of repent- 
ance: considered as equally entitled to good 
will and good offices in temporal things, as 
our other neighbours; admitted to any means 
of grace, which may aid their recovery; con- 
versed with in every way, which does not 
sanction their misconduct; and "restored," 
if it may be, in "the spirit of meekness." 
On this plan, I apprehend, discipline might 
again be established, and great benefit arise 
from it. But they, who cannot inflict mi- 
raculous judgments, surely are not authorized 
to attempt other punishments of excommuni- 
cated persons, which have a thousand times 
oftener been exercised against the truth, than 
for the truth. 

The distinctions, among the difl^erent of- 
fenders, and the mandates given to the dif- 
ferent subordinate classes, and presbyteries, 
appear in no other way exceptionable, than 
as the Presbyterian plan will of course be 
objected to, both by Episcopalians and Inde- 
pendents. But the Synod, as it has been 
seen, attempted far too much; and, forgetful 
of our Lord's prohibition, were so eager to 
root up the tares, that they greatly endan- 
gered the wheat also. 





The States General of Federated Belgium,, 
to all, who shall see and read this, health 
(or salvation, salutem.) We make it known 
(that) when, in order to take away those la- 
mentable and pernicious controversies, which 
a few years since, with great detriment to 
the republic, and disturbance of the peace of 
the churches, arose concerning the known 
five heads of Christian doctrine, and those 
things which depend on them; it seemed 
proper to us, according to the order in the 
church of God, and thus also in the Belgic 
church, to convene at Dordrecht a national 
Synod of all federated Belgium; and that 
this might be celebrated {celebrari) with the 
greatest fruit and advantage of the republic, 
not without much inconvenience (moleslia) 
and great expenses, we sought for and ob- 
tained, unto the same, very many, the most 
excellent, learned, and celebrated foreign 
theologians of the reformed church; as it 
may be seen fronr the subscription of the de- 
crees of the aforesaid Synod, after each of 
the heads of doctrine. Moreover, our dele- 
gates, being also commissioned {deputatis) 


from each of the provinces, who from the **' 
beginning to the end being present, should 
take care, that all things might there be 
handled in the fear of God, and in right 
order, from the word of God alone, in agree- 
ment to our sincere intention. And when 
this aforesaid Synod, by the singular blessing 
of God, hath now judged with so great a 
consent of all and every one, as well of for- 
eigners, as of Belgians, concerning the afore- 
mentioned five heads of doctrine, and the 
teachers of them: and we, having been con- 
sulted, and consenting, published, on the 
sixth of May last past, the decrees and de- 
termination affixed to these presents; we, 
that the much wished for fruits from this 
great and holy work (such a one as the Re- 
formed churches have never before this time 
seen) might be abundant to the churches of 
these countries; seeing that nothing is to us 
equally desired and cared for as the glory of 
the most holy name of God, and the preser- 
vation and propagation of the true Reformed 
Christian religion, (which is the foundation 
of prosperity and bond of union oi federated 
Belgium,) as the concord, the tranquillity, 
and the peace of the churches, and in like 
manner the preservation of the concord and 


communion of the churches in these regions 
with all foreign reformed churches, from 
which we never ought, nor are able to sepa- 
rate ourselves; having seen, and known, and 
maturely examined and weighed the afore- 
mentioned judgment and decision of the 
Synod, we have fully in all things approved 
them, confirmed and ratified them, and by 
these presents we do approve and ratify 
them; willing and enacting, [statuentes,) 
that no other doctrine concerning the afore- 
said five heads of doctrine be taught or pro- 
pagated in the churches of these regions, be- 
sides that which is conformable and agreea- 
ble to the aforesaid judgment: enjoining and 
commanding with authority, to all the ec- 
clesiastical assemblies, the ministers of the 
churches, the professors and doctors of sacred 
theology, the rulers of colleges, and to all in 
general, and to every one without exception, 
{in universum,) whom these things can in 
any way concern or reach unto, that in the 
exercise of their ministerial offices and func- 
tions, they should in all things follow them 
faithfully, and sincerely conduct themselves 
consistently with them. And that this our 
good intention may every where be fully and 
in all things satisfied, (or complied with,) we 



charge and command the orders, governors," 
the deputies of the orders, the counsellors, 
and deputed orders of the provinces of Guel- 
dria, and the county of Lutphan, of Holland, 
West Friezland, Zeland, Utrecht, Frisia. 
Transisulania, and of the state of Groningen, 
and the Omlandias, and all their officiaries, 
judges, and justiciaries, that they should pro- 
mote and defend the observation of the afore- 
said Synodical judgment, and of those things 
which depend on it; so that they should not 
either themselves make any change in these 
things, or permit it by any means to be done 
by others; Because we judge, that it ought 
to be so done, to promote the glory of God, 
the security and safety of the state of these 
regions, and the tranquillity and peace of the 
church. Given {actum) under our seal, and 
it hath been sealed by the sealing of the pre- 
sident, and the subscription of our secretary, 
the count of Hague, the second of July, in 
the year 1619. A. Ploos. 

As also beneath. 
By the mandate of the aforesaid High 
Mightinesses the States General. 

Subscribed, C. Aerssen. 
And in that space, the aforesaid seal was 
impressed on red wax. 


On this document it must be again observ- 
ed, that the measure adopted by the rulers 
of Belgium, in respect of the decisions of the 
Synod of Dort, ought not to be judged ac- 
cording to the generally prevailing senti- 
ments of modern times. An immense revo- 
lution in opinion, on these subjects, has taken 
place, within the last two centuries: and to 
render these rulers and this Synod, amenable 
to what we may call statutes long after en- 
acted, as if whatever there was wrong in the 
conduct, was exclusively their fault, would 
be palpably unjust. " Are ye not partial in 
yourselves, and are become judges of evil 
thoughts?" Jam. ii. 4. "But the wisdom 
from above is without partiality^ Jam. iii. 
18. The general principle of inducing, by 
coercive measures, conformity in doctrine 
and worship, to the decisions of either coun- 
cils, convocations, synods, or parliaments, 
was almost universally admitted and acted 
upon to a later period, than that of this Sy- 
nod; and though not long afterwards it was 
questioned, and in some instances relinquish- 
ed; yet it retained a very general prevalency, 
for at least half a century after; nor is it 
without its advocates, even in the reformed 
churches, at this present day. Had the op- 


ponents of the Synod possessed the same' 
authority, they would have acted in Uke 
manner, and so would the rulers of the other 
countries in Europe. The exclusive charge 
therefore against the measures under consi- 
deration, must be laid in those things, which 
were peculiar in their proceedings. 

As authority and compulsion can never 
produce conviction, or any regulation of the 
mind and judgment; the word sincerely/, in. 
this state-paper, is very improperly used. It 
could not indeed reasonably be expected, 
that even external conformity to so exact 
and extensive a doctrinal standard, could be 
generally or durably accomplished: but to 
suppose that any thing beyond this would be 
the result, except what argument and ex- 
planation, and appeals to the Scriptures, in 
the articles of the Synod itself could effect, 
was evidently most irrational; yet it was the 
notion of the times, and does not still appear 
absurd to all men, even in protestant coun- 

Had the rulers of Belgium adopted and 
ratified the decisions of the Synod as ap- 
provmg and recommending them to all the 
persons concerned; and giving countenance 
in some measure to those who voluntarily 



avowed the purpose of adhering to them, and 
leaving others, entirely at liberty, to decline 
these terms, whether as authorized teachers 
of congregations or of schools, but no further 
molesting them, or interfering with their pur- 
suits or instructions; their conduct might 
have been advocated, especially, if, as it was 
said before, some fair portion of their former 
incomes had been reserved to those, who re- 
linquished their situations, rather than pro- 
mise to conform, but who otherwise behaved 
as peaceful members of the community. But 
by absolute authority to demand of all entire 
conformity, whether voluntary or involun- 
tary; and to follow up this demand by the 
secular arm, and by heavy punishments, 
was altogether unjustifiable. Yet, except the 
strictness of the rule itself, what country 
almost was there in Europe at that time, or 
which almost of either the rulers or teachers 
of the reformed churches, that did not in great 
measure attempt to do the same? So that 
while authority, in many instances, repeat- 
edly shifted sides, which ever part was upper- 
most, its religious decisions were enforced by 
similar measures. 

" The reformers dissented from almost 
every principle of the church of Rome, but 


this, the right of persecution; and though 
Luther and some others thought it rather too 
much to burn heretics, all agreed that they 
should be restrained and punished, and in 
short, that it was better to burn them than to 
tolerate them. The Church of England has 
burnt Protestants for heresy, and Papists for 
treason. The Church of Scotland, and the 
London ministers in the interregnum declared 
their utter detestation and abhorrence of the 
evil of toleration^ patronizing and promo- 
ting all other errors, heresies, and blasphe- 
mies whatever, under the abused name of 
liberty of conscience." ( Williams on Re- 
ligious Liberty, Eclectic Revieio.) 

The main point in this quotation is indis- 
putable; but in respect of Luther especially, 
it is erroneous. It would, probably, be diffi- 
cult, to produce an instance, in which this 
great man even so much as sanctioned the 
punishment of the wild enthusiasts and de- 
ceivers of his day, except where the peace of 
society rendered the interposition of the ma- 
gistrate indispensable. — " At the same time, 
he (Luther) took occasion to reprobate the 
cruel sufferings inflicted on the poor wretch- 
es by the persecutions of the ecclesiastical 
rulers; insisting with the utmost precision on 


that grand distinction of which this reformer 
never lost sight; that errors in articles of 
faith were not to be suppressed by fire and 
sword, but confuted by the word of God; 
and that recourse was never to be had to 
capital penalties, except in cases of actual 
sedition and tumult." — (Milner's Eccl. Hist, 
vol. iv. p. 1098.) 

" His worthy friend Lineus, probably in a 
state of irritation, had asked him, Whether 
he conceived a magistrate to be justified in 
putting to death teachers of false religion ? 
A question, then little understood, and not 
generally agreed upon till long afterwards. 
I am backward, replied Luther, to pass a 
sentence of death, let the demerit be ever so 
apparent; For I am alarmed, when I reflect 
on the conduct of the Papists, who have so 
often abused the statutes of capital punish- 
ments, against heresy, to the effusion of in- 
nocent blood. Among the Protestants, in 
process of time I foresee a great probabiUty 
of a similar abuse, if they should now arm 
the magistrate with the same powers, and 
there should be left on record a single in- 
stance of a person having suflered legally 
for the propagation of false doctrine. On 
this ground, I am decidedly against capi- 


tal punishment in such cases; and think it 
quite sufficient that mischievous teachers of 
reHgion be removed from tlieir situations." 
(Milner's Eccl Hist. vol. v. p. 1100.) 

But, whatever were the opinions or prac- 
tice of those times in this respect, or what- 
ever the sentiments of any in our times may 
be, it seems to me incontrovertible, that eve- 
ry church, or associated company of Chris- 
tians, whether as a national establishment, 
or in any other form, has a right (for the 
use of which they are responsible to God 
alone) to appoint the terms, on which such 
as voluntarily desire it, shall be admitted to 
communion with them, or to teach as pas- 
tors, and as tutors in their schools and acade- 
mies ; to refuse admission to such as do not 
agree to these terms, and to exclude those 
who afterwards act contrary to them. And 
if they have funds, which are probably their 
own^ they have a right to employ these 
funds, to the exclusive support of such as 
voluntarily concur with them; volenti non 
Jit injuria; and it is absurd to deem those 
compelled, or their liberty infringed, who of 
their own voluntary will choose to conform, 
whether under an establishment or else- 
where. The Eclectic Review on " Gisborne 



on the Colossians," says, " Was it possible 
for the author of these discourses to put 
down a sentiment so just, and so weighty as 
this, without the perception of its censure 
bearing against the rites and ceremonies of 
his own church ? Is there nothing of will- 
worship in that communion? What are 
sponsors, and the sign of the cross in bap- 
tism, the compulsion to kneel at the Lord's 
supper, but new commands and prohibitions 
added to those which are established in 
the Bible ?— (Eclectic Review, May 1817, 
p. 481.) 

My concern at present is only with the 
word compulsion. Can it be conceived, that 
they who voluntarily come to the Lord's 
Supper in the Church of England, consider 
kneeling as compulsion? And, who is at 
present compelled to receive the Lord's Sup- 
per in that church? Some indeed, w[q tempt- 
ed, too strongly tempted; but none are com- 
pelled. Again, would it not excite at least 
as much surprise and perplexity in a dissent- 
ing congregation, both to minister and com- 
municants, if one or more of the company 
should kneel down to receive the bread and 
wine, and refuse to receive them in any other 
posture, as it would in a church, if one or 

SYNOD OF D O K T . 369 

more should sit down, or stand, or refuse to 
kneel, at the time of receiving ? Should the 
custom of receiving in a sitting posture, be 
considered as compulsion, and as a com- 
mand, or prohibition added to those which 
are established in the Bible? By no means. 
Each company has its usage, whether estab- 
lished by law, or by the appointment of an 
independent church. That usage is known; 
it is seldom seen that a communicant ex- 
presses the least objection to it. He is volun- 
tary, or he need not come. Whether kneel- 
ing, as uniting solemn prayer with receiv- 
ing; or sitting, as among Presbyterians and 
Independents; or standing, or reclining on 
couches, (the posture no doubt of the apos- 
tles, at its institution,) if it be voluntary in 
each person, there is no infringement of 
liberty, whatever else may be controverted 
respecting the posture. 

But to return to Belgium and the Synod 
of Dort. There toleration of dissentients was 
not thought of; and the effort was made, to 
enforce conformity on the whole mass of the 
population, especially on public teachers; 
and this, not only by exclusions, but by very 
severe disqualifications and other punish- 
ments. And probably the change of senti- 


ment and practice in Belgium in this parti- 
cular, wiiicli soon afterwards took place, and 
the toleration granted there, before it had 
any legal ground in Britain, combined in 
augmenting the general odium against the 
measures connected with this Synod. 

However 1 do, in my private judgment, 
consider the articles of the Synod of Dort as 
very scriptural, yet, when made the terms 
of conformity, or of officiating as public 
teachers, even with full toleration and ex- 
emption from any thing beyond simple ex- 
clusion, I must regard them as peculiarly 
improper. The terms of communion, even 
where none are molested who decline them, 
and of being public teachers, should by no 
means be carried into all the minutise of 
doctrine, which perhaps the ablest theolo- 
gians are convinced to be scriptural. They 
should include only the grand principles, in 
which all the humble disciples and pious 
ministers of Christ agree; and not those in 
which they are left to differ. " Him that is 
weak in the faith, receive ye, but not to 
doubtful disputations.'* 

The apostles never attempted to enforce 
by authority, the whole of what they infal- 
libly knew to be true. And who then should 


attempt to enforce their fallible opinions on 
others? Besides, by ainning at too much, the 
very end is defeated: the numbers, who from 
ignorance or indolence, and corrupt motives 
conform in such cases; and of those, who 
teach other doctrines than what they have 
consented to, becomes too great for any dis- 
ciphne to be exercised over them. Many 
also, of the most pious and laborious teachers 
who, in one way or other, manage to explain 
the established articles in their own favour, 
or at least as not against them, add greatly 
to the difficulty and evil: and so all discipline 
is neglected, as facts deplorably prove. 

Probably, this has been, and is in a mea- 
sure the case, in most or all of the churches ; 
but the proceedings of the Synod of Dort, and 
of the rulers of Belgium at that season, were 
more exceptionable than those of any other, 
at least as far as I can judge. And this ap- 
pears to me the chief blame to which they 
are justly exposed; but which is almost, if 
not wholly, overlooked, in the torrent of in- 
discriminate invective in which they, and 
these transactions, have been long over- 







■■^ ClP 



DEMCO 38-297 

BW5745 .53 .1841 c.2 

The articles of the Synod of Dort. 

Princeton Theological Seminary-Speer Library 

1 1012 00018 0325